Health Data: Dream Bigger!

Over the last few months I’ve been exposed to a plethora of healthcare technology apps through my personal research and while working on HealthData.gov.  I think that a lot of these applications are great, and they present information to consumers in a new or more useful way.  But as I look through more and more of these apps, I can’t help but start to see patterns and similarities in the things being developed.

The vast majority of health apps that I’ve seen basically repackage or mash up already publicly available data.  In essence, what I see are a lot of heat maps, statistics on health indicators (and how my personal health compares to said indicators), and location based services that help find the nearest service provider (hospitals etc.) for the user.  While these are useful to the consumer, many apps that are developed now are just variations of the above mentioned themes. Furthermore, I find that the benefit they provide is incremental at best.

I love working with entrepreneurs because they create the disruptive innovation that industries need to become better.  Incremental innovations are great when things are working well already, but the reality is that healthcare does not work for the vast majority of American people.  This industry is just begging for disruptive innovation from America’s entrepreneurs.

This brings me back to the title of the post: Dream bigger.  We all need to dream bigger.  We need to go beyond repackaging data for consumers and create ventures that are truly disruptive.  So the next time you see an app challenge, STOP & THINK. Stop and think to yourself about how the app can be solved by something besides a heat map*.  I’ve talked before about how sites like HealthData.gov put data at the fingertips of developers & researchers.  Take this rocket fuel and shoot for the stars!

Looking for inspiration? Check out the Health Apps Expo!

Just a clarification: This blog and, specifically, this post is reflective of my personal views only and does not represent any organizations, groups, or companies that I may be affiliated with.  

*I don’t mean to disparage heat maps.  In fact I find them to be incredibly useful at times. I would just prefer to not see six different heat maps of the same dataset from six different developers…


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One thought on “Health Data: Dream Bigger!

  1. Hi Cristian,

    Agreed! So, what next? I’ve been checking out iPhone apps to see what’s out there in the health arena, and agree with your points. I’d like to brainstorm with you more about possibilities.

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