Upcoming Digital Health Opportunities: Codeathons and the SXSW Accelerator

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By Steven Randazzo | On Mon, 10/01/2012 - 1:40pm

For the past three years, through the Health Data Initiative, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has focused on the liberation of health data.  This effort has focused on making data from HHS holdings more easily available without affecting privacy or confidentiality of individuals.  The intention is that entrepreneurs, developers, researchers and policy makers will take the newly liberated data and create web or mobile applications, products and services to help improve health for consumers, communities and service providers. Since 2010, over 300 data sets have been uploaded to HealthData.gov and in addition to the many events and examples of health data being leveraged than ever before.

An upcoming event where we are encouraging entrepreneurs and developers to take advantage of a great digital health opportunity is South by Southwest’s (SXSW) Accelerator. All the details can be found here, but SXSW is looking for startups that have “created patient-centric health applications and technologies that connect patients, families, physicians, pharmacists, care providers (hospitals, clinics) and benefit providers to share timely, relevant health data and drive better outcome at affordable and sustainable cost levels.”

SXSW’s accelerator is a great opportunity for those who have startups that are leveraging open health data to improve the health care experience for consumers.  Examples of open health data that can be leveraged in applications to improve consumers health experience include Medicare’s compare data, Blue Button data, and FDA recall data. Many of the 250 applications that were featured at the 2012 Health Datapalooza meet SXSW’s criteria for submission, and we encourage them to apply.  The deadline for submissions is November 9, 2012. 

In addition to SXSW’s accelerator, check out one of the many codeathons going on this October. One of the methods HHS has used to gain exposure of its data resources is to hold or encourage others to host events, called “codeathons” that bring together data subject matter experts with clinicians, programmers, web design experts, and other technology experts. The connectedness of these vastly different domains through their physical presence dramatically enhances the creativity of the developer community. Codeathons puts the stakeholders of the data in the front seat along with the developers allowing hands on input to design that is hirely desired by the development community.  Typically in the technology world, lots of developers have participated in a codeathon, but for the first time ever, we have seen a growth in the number of codeathons focused on health care issues.  In October alone, there are six that we have identified.  If you have a codeathon you would like listed contact us either via Facebook or Twitter.

The innovation team at HHS is excited to see this activity and wants to remind participants that Health Data.gov has a large amount of resources to leverage at codeathons and beyond; for more information check out our Health Data Buffet blog post and attend one of the events below

The Feast Conference Hackathon 2012, Oct. 4 - 5, New York, NY - Sign up here

Health Literacy Hackathon, Oct. 13 - 14 - Sign up here

HealthEHabits, Oct. 6 - 7, San Francisco, CA - Sign up here

Health 2.0 Austin Codeo, Oct. 19 - 21, Austin, TX - Sign up here

Build Health Hack-a-thon. Oct. 20, Milwaukee, WI - Sign up here

Hacking Medicine, Oct. 27 - 28, Boston, MA - Sign up here

Lastly, keep an eye out this winter for a number of opportunities to participate in the 2013 Health Datapalooza. For information on the 2013 Health Datapalooza  go to www.hdiforum.org

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