On February 23 and 24, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services participated in the 2023 Health Datapalooza. First held in 2010, it has been the become the gathering place for people and organizations creating knowledge from data and pioneering innovations that inform health policy and practice. HHS has a strong history of participation in the Health Datapalooza and continued that tradition this year.
The conference began with a keynote by the Food and Drug Administration Commissioner, Robert Califf, M.D., MACC; In Evidence Generation, Evidence Consumption, and Truth, Dr. Califf discussed issues blocking progress to better health outcomes, including gaps between tech advances and evidence. He described generating high-quality evidence as essential, but proposed processes and methods that address evidence consumption. These processes reflect the new ways people consume evidence, from social media to artificial intelligence tools. Dr. Califf proposed that these new processes can help the government implement more effective health interventions, leading to better health outcomes for the public.
Micky Tripathi, Ph.D., M.P.P., National Coordinator for the Office of the Health Information Technology, gave a keynote on Delivering on the Promise of Health Information Technology centering on ONC-led efforts and provisions of the 21st Century Cures Act. Since the Cures Act was passed by Congress in 2016, the healthcare and health IT industries have made progress in transitioning from pen and paper health records to using electronic health information and electronic health record technology. Dr. Tripathi’s keynote provided a look into the future of health IT, including improving information sharing via the information blocking regulations, application programming interface (API) standardization, and the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA).
Keynotes continued with Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) Director, Renee Wegrzyn, Ph.D. who introduced the newly formed agency. With the focus areas of health science futures, scalable solutions, proactive health, and resilient systems, ARPA-H’s mission is to accelerate better health outcomes for everyone by supporting the development of high-impact solutions to society’s most challenging health problems.
In a plenary session, Innovation Of the People, By the People, For the People, Kristen Honey, Ph.D., PMP, Chief Data Scientist and Executive Director of InnovationX in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH), and Stephen Konya, Senior Advisor to the Deputy National Coordinator, ONC, highlighted several cross-cutting initiatives, including:
- CancerX, announced by the White House as part of the Cancer Moonshot.
- PandemicX, which incubated 15 teams of entrepreneurs with focus on health equity.
- 2023 Health Equity DataJam, a challenge to transform open data into tools and insights for impact, launched at the Health Datapalooza.
- 2023 Federal Health Innovation Days, which HHS will reignite to open government doors to startups and entrepreneurs in technology hubs across the country in 2023, to demystify the bureaucracy, processes, and healthcare related priorities of the Federal government.
On Thursday, February 23, OASH led a panel on Transforming Data to Insight to Action with HHS and U.S. Digital Corps Designers exploring how HHS uses data modernization, human-centered design, and open innovation to drive knowledge and progress on Long COVID, Lyme and tickborne disease, and other infection-associated chronic illnesses.
Panels continued into Friday, February 24, with Thinking Outside of the “Bubble” – Benefits of Meeting Innovators Where They Are, a panel that included speakers from federal healthcare agencies working with startups and other innovators from around the country to solve healthcare problems. The Office of the Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer (OCAIO) led a panel on Federal Health Responsible and Trustworthy AI: From Principles to Practice exploring how AI impacts the public and how government is working to promote responsible use of AI. The Office of the Chief Data Officer’s panel on HHS Data Strategy in Action convened data leaders across the Department for conversation on cross-agency data initiatives.
Pitch Tent sessions were new this year to the Health Datapalooza. Many HHS representatives gave these lightning-style presentations, on topics including LymeX: Exponential Innovation in Lyme Disease Diagnostics, CancerX: Driving Digital Solutions with Partners for Cancer Patient Care, KidneyX: Improving Lives with Artificial Kidney Innovation, PandemicX: Data-Driven Solutions to National Public-Health Challenges, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) Data Initiatives.
To stay involved with HHS’ ongoing data-driven innovation, join the 2023 Health Equity DataJam, a challenge for the public to transform open data into tools and insights for impact. Read more about the DataJam on HealthData.gov.