The Health & Human Services (HHS) Department has been actively promoting a major new project under the “Open Government” umbrella called the Community Health Data Initiative (CHDI). CHDI’s core strategy is to publicly release government health data and actively promote the availability of this data to private and public businesses to encourage production of products, platforms, applications, and services that will serve our citizens and overall healthcare system. The basic idea is that knowledge and education can empower citizens to action.
At SoloHealth, we believe strongly in this philosophy. In fact, our entire business model is based around the simple consumer equation: Education + Awareness = Action. 17th century intellect and author Thomas Paine so prophetically once said, “A mind once enlightened can never be darkened again.” We believe this is true, especially as it relates to an individual’s health and wellness.
To understand how this works, think of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – the largest supplier of weather data in the United States. NOAA supplies and publishes extensive weather data that is free, open and accessible to the public. Business innovators use this data to create platforms to distribute for public consumption. Along the way these entrepreneurs have made quite a business of it: think weather websites, TV networks, news programs, applications and more. The Weather Channel created an extremely valuable consumer platform and business model with this data. HHS aims to make health data an open platform that spurs similar business platforms for the healthcare industry.
This week, the HHS and the Institute of Medicine will hold a second health data forum, bringing together more than 500 key industry leaders to showcase how health and data can benefit consumers and the national healthcare system. We’re honored to present at the forum and certainly look forward to sharing and exchanging ideas. The event will be live-streamed so I encourage interested parties to watch.
The HHS’ CHDI project is an incredibly ambitious venture that has already attracted the attention of many healthcare technology and business entrepreneurs. Today, there are already many business models with consumer and national healthcare betterment goals in mind. The CHDI project will only spur on additional entries. And that is good for our nation’s health and bottom line!
Today’s mainstream communications channels—digital, mobile, social and traditional—completely supports and fuels a project like CHDI. Below are a few innovative business models that have and will continue to thrive with the continued support of projects like CHDI.
MAYA & the “Food Oasis” Project: We all know that developing and maintaining healthy eating habits is critical to preventing obesity, as well as chronic conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular disease. But healthy eating isn’t just about education but also access to these healthy foods. To address these challenges, MAYA conceived an SMS-based virtual grocery marketplace called “Food Oasis” to expand access to healthy, affordable food. Using simple, text-message ordering (text phones are more common than smart phones in underprivileged societies), individual consumers can connect with producers in their area. This platform allows consumers the means and access to healthy foods…and empowers them to action…no matter where they are located.
Vitals: Vitals was created to give consumers the tools – for the first time – to make informed decisions about the doctors they choose. Called “360 View”,the website offers consumers a variety of ways to find the right doctor, offering factual information on expertise and practice, consumer reviews and awards, and recommendations for other doctors. And it’s all at no cost.
Healthagen’s iTriage: The iTriage is a new mobile and web healthcare platform that empowers people to make better healthcare decisions and improves healthcare delivery for providers and payers. iTriage is a free mobile and website application that addresses the two most commonly asked healthcare questions: What could be wrong with me?; and What do I need to do/go for treatment? Additionally, iTriage helps look up symptoms and causes of symptoms, determines healthcare treatment and locates local/nationwide healthcare providers. Currently, iTriage is the most widely distributed mobile platform connecting patients to healthcare delivery. It is used by millions in more than 80 countries.