The White House has released a memorandum and published a policy paper outlining the Obama administration's plans to promote broader digital access to government information, including health care data, Modern Healthcare reports (Conn, Modern Healthcare, 5/23).
About the Digital Strategy
The new digital strategy -- titled, "Digital Government: Building a 21st Century Platform to Better Service the American People" -- calls for federal agencies to provide data in new ways that "fully utilize" Web and mobile technologies. For example, the strategy calls for enhancing the federal Data.gov website so it can pull data from federal agencies in real time.
The strategy's four key principles are:
- Moving from managing documents to managing discrete pieces of data that can be shared, secured and presented in a useful way;
- Working across and within agencies to cut costs, streamline development and apply consistent standards for creating and delivering data;
- Creating, managing and presenting data so the public can use it in various ways; and
- Ensuring the privacy and security of digital services and data delivery (Goedert, Health Data Management, 5/23).
Using Mobile Technology
As part of the digital strategy, Obama called for all federal agencies to make at least two key government services available through mobile applications within one year (Modern Healthcare, 5/23).
Obama in the memorandum said, "[A]t a time when Americans increasingly pay bills and buy tickets on mobile devices, government services often are not optimized for smartphones or tablets, assuming the services are even available online" (Health Data Management, 5/23).
Innovation Fellows Program
In conjunction with the White House's new digital strategy, U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park launched the Presidential Innovation Fellows program.
The fellowship will bring in innovators from the private sector, academia and not-for-profit groups to serve "tours of duty" with federal workers on projects related to health, safety, education and other topics (Monegain, Healthcare IT News, 5/23).
The innovation fellows will work on various projects, including:
- Open data initiatives aimed at leveraging government information to create useful tools for U.S. residents; and
- An expansion of the Blue Button program to enable more U.S. residents to download their electronic health records (Modern Healthcare, 5/23).