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Health and Human Services makes more information available to public

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In an email I received today, the Texas Governor's Office has released information about the new Health Data Initiative and requested that the information be shared with the public. The statement is as follows:

The Health Data Initiative is a major new public-private effort that aims to help Americans understand health and health care performance in their communities -- and to help spark and facilitate action to improve performance. The fundamental approach being taken by the initiative is to catalyze the advent of a network of community health data suppliers (starting with HHS) and “data appliers” who utilize that data to create applications that (1) raise awareness of community health performance, (2) increase pressure on decision makers to improve performance, and (3) help facilitate and inform action to improve performance.

The approach taken by the Health Data Initiative has two parts. First, the program provides to the public, free of charge and without any intellectual property constraint, Health Data Sets harvested from across HHS – a wealth of easily accessible, standardized, structured, downloadable data on health care, health, and determinants of health performance at the national, state, regional, and county levels, as well as by age, gender, race/ethnicity, and income (where available). This data set consists of hundreds (ultimately, thousands) of measures of health care quality, cost, access and public health (e.g., obesity rates, smoking rates, etc.), including data produced for the Community Health Status Indicators, County Health Rankings, and State of the USA programs. The goal of these data sets is to provide information on the prevalence of disease, and quality, cost, and service utilization data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Much of this information has never previously been published. In addition, data for measures tracked by Healthy People 2020 will also be published, and will include information on evidence-based programs and policies that have successfully improved community performance across many of these measures.

Second, the Health Data Initiative will be working with a growing array of technology companies, researchers, health advocates, employers, media, consumer advocates, marketers, providers, etc., to identify the uses of this data that would do the most to raise awareness of health performance, help motivate civic leaders and citizens to improve performance, and help improve quality and effectiveness of health care.

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