Todd Park, Chief Technology Officer at the White House, gave an energetic call to action this week at Mashable’s Social Good Summit in NYC. He’s offering enterprising innovators massive amounts of health data—for free. Not without precedent, the government has made realtime weather and GPS data available to the public with impressive results. Last year, GPS-related initiatives added $90 billion to the economy.
“You take data that’s already there and jujitsu it, put it in machine-readable form, let entrepreneurs take it and turn it into awesomeness,” said Park. “It’s about turning government into a platform for open innovation.”
In June, the government held the first “Health Datapalooza 2012” welcoming 242 companies to compete for 100 spots to present amazing innovation powered by open data. One successful example Todd gave was Pete Hudson, an ER doctor from Denver who started iTriage, an application that helps Americans find the right medical help close by. The application has been downloaded over 8 million times and created 80 jobs thus far.
This health data initiative makes good on multiple fronts. It helps create new businesses that spur job creation while at the same time, offering opportunities to provide better healthcare—all with no additional cost to taxpayers.
Innovators can check out the massive amount of free data online: health.data.gov, energy.data.gov, education.data.gov, to name a few. Do you want to innovate, grow your business AND make the world a better place? Visit challenge.gov and win support for your solution.
If information is power, the opportunities are endless.
By Stephanie A. Wolcott