Open health data: Spurring better decisions and new businesses

The co-founder of a health app company discusses the opportunities health data creates.

itriage-multiphones.jpgAs Network World reported this week, iPhone apps that could save your life have come to an App Store near you.

“A growing number of developers are tapping into a treasure trove of U.S. government healthcare data and coming up with innovative iPhone apps that help consumers make better medical decisions,” wrote Carolyn Duffy Marsan. She was reporting on a trend that started at the National Institute of Medicine in May when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launched its Community Health Data Initiative.

Network World covered Medwatcher, Asthmapolis, and iTriage — the latter two also showed up here on Radar back in May. iTriage, a free app for iPhones, Android, Blackberry and other web-enabled devices, has enjoyed continued growth over the summer and fall, with nearly 1 million users to date, and a new iPad app.

Peter Hudson, one of the physicians who founded Healthagen, the company that created iTriage, spoke with me at this week’s mHealth Summit. In the following video, Hudson discusses his app and the kinds of data that would help him and other mobile health entrepreneurs grow their businesses.

iTriage is free and genuinely useful. It also looks like a viable business, as more healthcare providers pay to add their data to its database. If that vision for open government at HHS continues to gain traction, the innovation released in the private sector could meet or exceed the billions of dollars unlocked by GPS and NOAA data. To see the first steps in that direction, look no further than the healthcare apps that have already gone online. When goes live later this year, entrepreneurs will have even more indicators to build into their applications.


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