Open Data for Health

Open Data for Health

Open Data for Health

What is Open Data in Health and how can it enable better care and innovation?

The publication of Irish Public Sector data in open, free and reusable formats is recognised as a key element of the Public Service Reform agenda. Through the national (http://data.gov.ie/) and regional Open Data Portals, citizens can access raw Public Sector data, providing insights into the operation of public organisations and services. The aim of Open Data is twofold; on the one hand facilitating transparency of the Public Sector, and on the other providing a valuable resource that can drive innovation.

Open Data can stem from any domain – transport, education, housing. However its importance in the Health Sector is significant. The amount of health data being created and gathered is growing rapidly: data about patient care, about health services, about infrastructure. However access to and use of this data is limited, even for Health-Sector Workers. Insights that could gleaned or efficiencies that could be identified in the data are locked away in silos, in filing cabinets, personal computers, or proprietary IT system.

The benefits of publishing and using Open Data in Health for better care and innovation are clearly evident around the world. In the UK, a Big Data company, Mastodon C, worked with publicly available NHS prescriptions data to identify £27m of potential savings[1]. In the U.S. a Health Datapalooza is held annually, a gathering of tech innovators, clinicians, patient advocates, entrepreneurs, health care leaders, poliymkers and researchers[2]. Todd Park, former US CTO, says that “It's helping to fuel the creation of a rising tide of new tools and services that are making a real difference in people’s lives.” NHS England and The GovLab at New York University have jointly published The Open Data Era in Health and Social Care[3], which highlight the importance of the safe sharing of data and information between clinicians, patients, and the public, supporting patients and citizens to take more control of their health and care and fully engage in the design of local services, and the development of seamless digital records across all care settings, based on open standards.

Transparency, participation and interoperability are essential for a high-quality, effective Health System. Open Data can be a key enabler to unlock this potential in the Irish Health Sector.  

1 https://theodi.org/news/prescription-savings-worth-millions-identified-odi-incubated-company

2 http://healthdatapalooza.org/

3 http://thegovlab.org/nhs/

Related Links:

http://data.gov.ie/   Irish Government Open Data Portal