Thursday, March 18, 2010

Geo Mapping and Other Analytics for Open-Sourced Health Data: The Uptapped Potential

Take a five minute break from thinking about the process of health bill deeming, posting, reconciliation, passing, voting, slaughtering, CBO scoring, not reading and up or down voting and watch this fascinating video on open data by Tim Berners-Lee. While it deals with geo-mapping 'mash-ups,' the level of world-wide participation that correlated access to city services by race and updated the street-mapping following the Haiti earthquake was truly astonishing.

While you are watching the video, think about the potential of similar open sourcing of population-based health care data. This could lead to the mapping of the prevalence of disease that tracks the allocation of health care resources at a population-based level.

Or, forget about the mapping and just ponder the ability of amateur mathematicians to correlate (for example) demographic information (say, age) with disease (say, diabetes), out of pocket health expenses (by the type of health insurance), medication use and the use of cell phones AND display their results on-line for free for anyone to use. We could quickly discover that a certain drug may be causing diabetes among persons over age 60 and that an appreciable percent are subject to a high co-pay for testing and are accessible via text messaging. The DMCB doubts the Food and Drug Administration could ever match that.

While the DMCB is being rather naive, it thinks a) there is an untapped potential to making health care data freely accessible on-line and b) there are sufficient numbers of people that would be willing to make their personal health information readily available with c) reasonable (and not necessarily ironclad) safeguards.

On an uncompletely unrelated note, the DMCB's March Madness Policy Brackets had a prescient first seed position for another cancellation of an overseas trip for Mr. Obama. Too bad the DMCB's NCAA Men's Basketball bracket bets are already cratering.

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