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National Health Data Initiative Unveiled

June 4, 2010

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Harvey Fineberg, president of the Institute of Medicine, unveiled the Community Health Data Initiative, a national effort to promote the use of community health data to spur innovation and development of new applications.

In taking steps to improve quality of care and build a health care system “that meets the needs of every American,” HHS wants to leverage new health information technology tools to achieve those goals, Sebelius said during a community health data forum in Washington sponsored by the Institute of Medicine.

The department has a huge store of health care data on the regional, state and national scales, including the use of health care services and hospital data. In making such data available to various developers and technology pioneers, innovators “have identified at least 20 areas to improve health,” putting together numerous new applications to track health care trends in their respective communities, HHS Deputy Secretary Bill Corr said.

Most of these sample applications have been developed or refined in the three months since HHS and IOM hosted a meeting on March 11 to explore the feasibility of a health data initiative, according to a statement from HHS.

As part of these efforts to promote community health data, HHS officials stated that a new health indicators “warehouse” would be deployed online at the end of this year, providing data on national, state, regional and county health performance on rates of smoking, diabetes, obesity and other health indicators.

Filed by Jennifer Lubell of Modern Healthcare, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail editors@workforce.com.

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