The fourth annual Health 2.0 conference is abuzz about “unplatforms” — loose collections of liquid data services and interlinked apps that allow for mix-ins, mash-ups, and rapid innovation. The unplatform is “un” becaues it doesn’t rely on a central service, repository, or framework. Instead, it’s a frothy milieu of various data and services: in other words, all right ingredients for apps to emerge.
But where do the data come from? Health 2.0 co-founder Matthew Holt describes three main buckets of data: “reference” data, population health data, and personal health data. Reference data are underlying details like geo-location and weather — the kind of data that are already in many cases available for access. Population health data contain summary health statistics for groups of patients: anything from disease prevalence to treatment rates to outcomes data. There are public and private repositories of population-level health data — including the fast-growing HHS Community Health Data Initiative. And finally, personal health data: these are the data so often “locked up in the silo” of an Electronic Health Record, with few or no options for automated API-driven access. Until these personal data are readily available for apps to work with, there’s a big gap in what apps can do.
SMART helps bridge this gap, enabling apps to work with personal data from Electronic Health Records, Personally Controlled Health Records, and Data Analytics Platforms in a consistent way. We think a simple and consistent API to access personal health data will be a key ingredient to catalyze the widespread development of innovative new apps. And as we continue to build out our API, we’ll apply these methods to population health data, too.
So let’s not get bogged down in terminology: platform or “un”, we’re all about getting data to apps!