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Data and Innovation Work Together to Improve Health

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Institute of Medicine President Harvey Fineberg today launched a national initiative to share a wealth of new community health data that will drive innovation and lead to the creation of new applications and tools to improve the health of Americans.  

The Community Health Data Initiative (CHDI) is turning to Web application developers, mobile phone applications, social media, and other cutting-edge information technologies in a widespread effort to help consumers, healthcare providers, and policy makers use this data to improve health and the value of health care. In the words of organizer Todd Park, HHS wants “to make health data as useful and available as weather data.” 

At a Community Health Data Forum today, June 2,  federal and community leaders were joined by developers and technology pioneers who demonstrated several innovative applications that make use of publicly available health data. The demonstrations included Web tools that allow citizens to easily understand health performance in one county versus another, dashboards that allow civic leaders to get a detailed understanding of their community’s health status and how they might improve it, an online game that enables players to learn local health status facts, an enhanced Web search that integrates hospital performance data into hospital search results, and mobile phone-based tools that put exciting new health information at consumers’ fingertips.

To learn more about the Community Health Data Initiative, please visit

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