Dispatches from Datapalooza: Conversation After Conversation

Jun 7, 2013, 3:29 PM, Posted by Paul Tarini

From: Paul Tarini

To: Christine Nieves, Beth Toner and Thomas Goetz

Date: June 7, 2013

Thomas, I agree with your description that Health Datapalooza is the place to be. For me, this year's conference was a great experience and offered a really rich environment for networking. At RWJF's booth and throughout the conference, I had conversation after conversation with a range of people who are interested in liberating data and using liberated data. I talked with researchers, entrepreneurs, health care providers, people from state and federal government, and representatives from large corporations. It was really quite impressive.

The interest in liberating data seems to be expanding beyond what the federal government collects—where this effort was originally focused—to local data and other sources. I enjoyed a panel that featured Nirav Shah, New York State's commissioner of health; Ted Smith, director of the Department of Economic Growth and Innovation for Louisville Metro Government; and Mark Headd, Philadelphia's chief data officer, among others. They discussed how their jurisdictions use data and how they make their institutions' data available to others. Christine, to your question about paying for the innovative health care products that are being developed, I think we're seeing a really broad range of use cases—far beyond products and services for individuals—and business models from governments, academics, corporations and more.

Datapalooza continues to grow and become more sophisticated. The level and quality of speakers and sessions has improved and the understanding of the creative things you can achieve with data is expanding. In the future, I think there is an opportunity for Datapalooza to further bridge the health and tech/entrepreneur communities. They bring different cultures and business models, and Datapalooza can help foster a deeper understanding between the two groups, including their needs, motivations and the kinds of outcomes they're seeking. As more of that happens, Datapalooza will become an even more robust and valuable meeting. 

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This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Pioneering Ideas blog.