Facing myriad challenges in the public and private sectors, the nation's health IT experts received a boost of encouragement from HHS' top technology official at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Government Health IT Conference & Exhibition in Washington.
"America will absolutely invent its way to victory in healthcare," HHS Chief Technology Officer Todd Park told attendees in a keynote address Wednesday. "I've never been more sure of anything in my life."
Earlier, Park expressed similar enthusiasm in describing the agency's Health Data Initiative, which he said began 18 months ago and is intended to turn HHS and other agencies into the "NOAA of health." A federal agency within the U.S. Commerce department, NOAA is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, where scientists use high-tech tools to provide emergency planners as well as the general public with data. As Park explained, HHS' Health Data Initiative's core activities include publishing new HHS data for public access, making existing data more accessible and "energetically" publicizing that data to innovators.
HHS is "liberating" different forms of data, Park said, including community health data; provider directories and quality data from the CMS; and data gathered via HHS' and the U.S. Veterans Affairs and Defense departments' Blue Button initiative to allow veterans and active-duty personnel to download their own claims information. Health.Data.gov, launched this year, aims to be "the one-stop place for all of this public data," Park said.