Max Orenstein / Clinton Foundation
Apr 30
April 30, 2014

New York’s Innovation Challenge


You’ve just been told you need hip replacement surgery, and you’re wondering which hospital to choose.

Imagine having that health care data at your fingertips in the form of an app. Here in New York, the ability to compare and contrast health care options in just that way is around the corner. Making health care data easily accessible.

New York State wants to give New Yorkers the data and tools they need to help inform their health care decisions. Last fall, New York’s Department of Health released comprehensive patient-level data for all hospital discharges on the Department’s open health data portal, Health Data NY. The department is also working on a redesigned hospital quality website that will enable consumers to compare hospital charges and costs for the treatment of many common conditions as well as information about the quality of care patients receive at each facility. Having access to this data creates a competitive marketplace that will drive down the high costs of health care and enhance the quality of that care.

Now, New York is taking a major step toward making that data more user-friendly by sponsoring the first-ever Innovation Challenge, a four-month project that is being held in collaboration with the New York State Health Foundation. The Innovation Challenge, which kicked off in March, is part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s OPEN NY initiative, which aims to make state government more open, innovative, and cost-effective.

Through the challenge, we’re inviting multidisciplinary teams of coders and developers to put this valuable health data to good use by creating technology around it that helps consumers assess the quality, cost and efficiency of health care services. Health care data is also valuable to employers and purchasers, as well as state and local governments, who can use the data to better understand the cost and quality of the services being provided. Providers can use the information to better assess where they stand compared to regional and statewide benchmarks. Insurers will find the information useful when building physician and facility networks, and promoting improvement efforts.

The Innovation Challenge is the latest in a series of events around the release of health data, which kicked off in March 2013 with the debut of HealthData NY. As part of the Innovation Challenge, we’re working with the Clinton Health Matters Initiative to spur creativity in the health and technology space to help bring the solutions to market, and align with their mission to help all Americans live healthier lives. By strategically working with organizations that touch communities all over the country, we hope that we can help generate creative solutions that increase access to health care. We’ll be accepting submissions for our Innovation Challenge through July 24, 2014. Judges will review the projects in August, and winning teams will be announced at a ceremony in September.

No doubt, these are exciting times in New York’s world of open health data. We hope you’ll join us for the excitement.