Health Data Consortium: The Emergence of Data as a Driver of Health Systems Innovation

Dwayne Spradlin
Dwayne Spradlin

Guest post by Dwayne Spradlin, CEO, Health Data Consortium.

Earlier this year, Mobile Future released an infographic about the current state of digital health. The graphic detailed impressive statistics: Now, more than 247 million Americans have downloaded a health app for their mobile phones and 42 percent of U.S. hospitals utilize digital health technology. These numbers are increasing every day.

These impressive statistics would not been achievable without the liberation of enormous amounts of health data over the last few  years, which has help catalyzed a new era of health innovation by giving innovators and entrepreneurs the resources to develop new products and tools to help the everyday consumer make better, more-informed choices about their health. The digital health arena has also become a major economic driver and is on an upward trend with no ceiling in sight. Rock Health reported in April that venture capital funding for digital health in Q1 of 2014 totaled almost $700 million, an increase of 87 percent from Q1 of 2013.

From the successful implementation of the Affordable Care Act through to newly released Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) data, both the demand for and ability to create new products that service consumer needs are at the forefront of investors’ minds. But with new opportunities for innovation also comes new risks and challenges. Along with privacy and security issues regarding the distribution of patient data which has been a hotly discussed public topic the last few months, concerns about storage, access, and sharing are on the minds of data distributors and data users alike.

At the Health Data Consortium (HDC), created as a public-private partnership, has the support of government, nonprofit and private sector organizations who all believe in liberation of health data for the public good. HDC has made a multi-stakeholder commitment to health data, which was reflected in the diversity of constituencies that attended our Health Data Leadership Summit in November last year. This leadership summit resulted in the release of our whitepaper on the multi-stakeholder perspective of health data priorities in the U.S. healthcare system.

A major goal of HDC is to ensure that the pace of health data liberation is on par with or ahead of other sectors joining the open data movement. In doing so, we hope to support entrepreneurs and start-ups by facilitating collaborations that drive innovations to create products which educate and benefit healthcare consumers. Nowhere is this more obvious than at Health Datapalooza, HDC’s premier conference in open health data, which connects diverse groups in health care – like innovators, researchers, investors, clinicians and advocates – to foster thought and creativity around using data and technology to improve healthcare.

Health innovation success stories abound at Health Datapalooza. For example, iTriage, which first featured tits app at the conference, had gone on to receive investor funding as a result of their exposure at Health Datapalooza. In 2011, iTriage was acquired by Aetna, and today, the iTriage app has more than 10 million users. There’s no limit to the effect that HDC can have on facilitating such entrepreneurial achievements and consequent advances in health to the benefit of all.

Join us at Health Datapalooza from June 1 through 3, 2014, in Washington, D.C., and be a part of the energy and ingenuity around open health data. We are also seeking proposals for our Code-a-Palooza challenge to develop tools that can allow consumers to manipulate visualizations of the newly released CMS data, with $35,000 in prizes.

Finally, we invite all of you to work with us on the myriad of challenges and opportunities that lay ahead from ensuring safe and effective mechanisms for organizations to utilize health data to working with lawmakers and policy makers to ensure we’re encouraging innovation and progress in this exciting area. Learn more about HDC at

Dwayne Spradlin, CEO, Health Data Consortium, was previously the president and CEO at InnoCentive, Inc., the crowdsourcing pioneer connecting corporations, government and foundations to a global network of innovators over the internet. He has been featured on CNBC, ABC, NPR and BBC; and quoted in the Economist, BusinessWeek, The New York Times, and many other journals and periodicals, as well as published by FT Press and Harvard Business Review.

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