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The White House named 18 Presidential Innovation Fellows, the first set of proven private sector innovators chosen to bring their expertise to work for the government in Washington, D.C., for six months on five high-impact projects using electronic data and tools.
The projects are related to health data access, online business practices, electronic payments and making more federal data computer readable, according to Todd Park, White House chief technology officer, during the Aug. 23 announcement.
One of those projects is spreading the capability of Blue Button, a feature that enables patients to download their own health information to their computer or personal health record.
[See also: EMR policies get a refresh in Afghanistan.]
Currently, individuals who receive their health care through the Veterans Affairs and Defense Departments and Medicare have access to Blue Button. And health plans that serve federal employees will also begin to offer the feature.
The Obama administration wants to speed up its availability among private health plans and payers, where it is just emerging. One million veterans have downloaded their information.
But the goal is “how do we take it to 10 million next year and 100 million two years from now,” said Dr. Farzad Mostashari, national health IT coordinator, who spoke at the White House event.
“Let’s turn Blue Button from a noun to a verb,” he said, as in for example, “We’re going to Blue Button those scans to my uncle.”
“To take this to the next level up, we have to work on three fronts. We have to change attitudes. We have to know that you can get it, that it’s not against HIPAA to ask for your own information. We have to have more people asking for a copy of their own records,” Mostashari said.
“Increasingly we’re going to work with those who hold the data to change those attitudes and make it available and stimulate the demand and access,” he said.
Blue Button won’t be just about data that can be downloaded, printed and shared, but “to use that data to do things you want to do, like manage health, connect to other people, manage my healthcare finances, get a second opinion, find a clinical trial. And for that, we have to not just liberate the data, we need to make it so that those entrepreneurs can come in …and innovate,” Mostashari said.
[See also: CMS unwraps redesigned Medicare.gov.]
The Presidential Innovation Fellows program aims to use “the ingenuity of leading problem solvers from across America together with federal innovators to tackle projects that aim to fuel job creation, save taxpayers money and improve the lives of Americans in tangible ways,” Park said.
The Presidential Innovation Fellows program was created in conjunction with the White House’s digital and mobile strategy outlined in May. From 700 applicants, the administration chose this first set of 18 fellows:
For the Blue Button project:
• Dr. Henry Wei, practicing physician and informatics expert, New York, NY
• Ryan Panchadsaram-Pipette founder, San Francisco, CA
• Matt McCall-information systems expert, Baltimore, MD
For the Open Data Initiative, to drive the use of federal data by entrepreneurs and make it more usable to fuel the creation of new products and services:
• Ian Kalin-Navy veteran and managing director of energy sector start-up, San Francisco
• Marina Martin-Web developer and business efficiency expert, Seattle, WA
• Raphael Majma-Open data researcher, Brooklyn, NY
• Nick Bramble-Director of law and media program, Information society Project at Yale Law School, New Haven, CT
• Dmitry Kachaev-Software engineer, Arlington, VA
• Nathaniel Manning-Robotics entrepreneur and member of World Economic Forum’s Personal Data team and Google’s Data Colloquium team, San Francisco
For the RFP-EZ project, to develop an online marketplace to make it easier for government to do business with small high-growth tech companies:
• Clay Johnson-Author, open government technologist and entrepreneur
• Jed Wood-Interaction designer, Web developer and entrepreneur, Chicago, IL
• Adam Becker-Web developer and co-founder of civic engagement start-up GovHub, Oakland, CA
For the MyGov project, to create a prototype of online system that makes it easy for citizens to access information and services from the federal government:
• Kara DeFrias-User experience writer from TurboTax, San Diego, CA
• Phil Ashlock-Open government program manager and co-founder of Civic Commons, Brooklyn, NY
• Danny Chapman-Website designer, Riverside, RI
• Greg Gershman-Software engineer and serial entrepreneur, Baltimore, MD
• Ben Balter-Software engineer, Washington, DC
For the 20 percent Initiative to transition the “last mile” of international development assistance payments from cash to electronic methods:
• Karl Mehta-Serial entrepreneur and founder of PlaySpan, Fremont, CA.