On Wednesday, at TechCrunch Disrupt NYC 2012, Todd Park, the U.S. Chief Technology Officer, leapt onto the stage and cheerfully proclaimed: “We are here to formally launch an effort to disrupt the United States Federal government.”
Alongside Park stood Steven VanRoekel, U.S. Chief Information Officer, and together the two announced a digital government strategy that intends to challenge the status quo by making the vast amounts of government data open, and, when appropriate, public so that entrepreneurs and developers will be able to build new services and applications, thus creating new jobs while also providing Americans with valuable services.
Today, the pieces are all there. Government data is plentiful. The talent needed to turn that data into useful services is abundant. All that’s missing is a platform that brings the right data to the right people. The government digital strategy, entitled “Building a 21st Century Platform to Better Serve the American People,” seeks to provide that missing platform. “We are going to transform government to become an enablement platform to unleash data that is locked in PDF files, paper, and archaic systems on the backend,” said VanRoekel. “Government needs to step up.”
“What we really want to do is have government embrace the power of innovation for the people by the people,” said Park. With his characteristic enthusiasm and energy, Park emphasized the staggering number of opportunities that unleashing, unlocking, and liberating government data would provide, citing the sharing of government weather and GPS data as examples of what can happen when public and private sectors collaborate. These collaborations have led to myriad services, and have influenced the development of sites like Weather.com and apps like FourSquare. Over the past few years, Park and his crew have tried to duplicate these successes by hosting Health Data Initiatives, otherwise known as “data paloozas,” to bring the talent and the data together in order to transform the healthcare industry.
Yesterday, Park cited iTriage as a company that took advantage of these “data paloozas” to revolutionize the healthcare industry.
Notorious for its lack of transparency, the healthcare industry has increasingly been under the governmental microscope, and for good reason: healthcare costs as well as emergency room visits are increasing, healthcare consumes a colossal 20% of GDP, and rates of health literacy in the US are at an abysmal 12%. Many consumers of healthcare do not know how to locate appropriate providers or facilities and are bewildered by the intricacies of medication regimens, health records, and care options. And a dearth of data is not to blame; according to Park, “the latest and greatest medical knowledge, the quality of our healthcare providers, the health of our communities, incredibly detailed information about insurance products and drugs are all sitting in government vaults.” But that data, in its untouched form, is useless to the average consumer. Companies like iTriage, with the help of government data, are helping fill the gap.
From the beginning, iTriage has been a major player, and is now on the forefront of data innovation. “It’s an amazing story,” said Park. “Denver emergency physician Pete Hudson was so tired of people not being able to access the right care when they want, and so decides to take matters into his own hands, founds iTriage, uses a bunch of government data and other data to produce a mobile and web app that allows you to assess your symptoms, find the best local provider, and book an appointment with that provider. iTriage just rocks!”
“The idea is for government to liberate its data,” said Park, “so that entrepreneurs can build a vast array of services and products that are much better than what the government can actually do.”
About iTriage, LLC
iTriage LLC, headquartered in Denver, Colorado, is a global health care technology company founded in 2008 by two emergency medicine physicians. The company’s market-leading platform and mobile/Web applications offer a proprietary Symptom-to-Provider™ pathway that empowers consumers to make better health care decisions. iTriage helps people answer the two most common medical questions: “What could be wrong?” and “Where should I go for treatment?” Millions of consumers around the globe have downloaded the free iTriage mobile app on their iPhone and Android devices, and thousands of health care providers use iTriage to reach and communicate critical facility and service information to patients. For more information, please visit iTriage’s website.