Health 2.0, Computable Data Exchange, and The Sparse Information Model, by David C. Kibbe, MD MBA

One of the processes that Health 2.0 will certainly come to depend upon for its growth and utility is that of computable data exchange. What I mean is this: how do we help our customers/users get their basic health information; how do they upload it to our applications; and how do we store it for them in such a way that it can be re-used, re-connected, and re-purposed? An important corollary of such a process specification involves answering this question: what do we mean by “basic health information” ? I’m going to suggest that we employ what I’ll call a Sparse Information Model to help solve these problems. The purpose of this blog is to get a discussion going about this process.

After all, we don’t want to re-create the experience of the frustratingly infamous “clip board” and its paper forms, which must be filled out over and over again at the doctor’s office or hospital. Health 2.0 applications and web sites don’t want to force users to type in their own health information repeatedly, do they? No, much better would to collect the important health data and information one time, and store it in a manner that can be used many times. To do this all Health 2.0 applications must know precisely how to import, read, and interpret the data when presented with them. This might be the “glue” that holds numerous Health 2.0 partners together, allowing many different kinds of sites and applications — search, social media, decision support tools, pricing sites, etc. — to make the user’s experience of sharing his or her health data seamless and easy, across those domains.

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