The Future of Health Is in #Opendata

This Saturday I had the pleasure of helping organize a hackathon that was put together by the Open State Foundation (HackDeOverheid). The theme was “Open Data, open for business” and took place at a very unique place in Rotterdam – WORM (an institute for avant garde recreation). It was a perfect spot to gather almost 150 people from all disciplines and sponsors/partners ranging from the Hogeschool Rotterdam, TNO, Internet Valley Rotterdam to name a few, but also a contribution from Health 2.0.

Open health data is relatively a new initiative within the Open State Foundation with a simple but strong message:

“Open Zorg Data is an initiative to build a community that utilizes open healthcare data, encourages innovation & entrepreneurship, improves transparency in our healthcare system and most importantly turns healthcare into health for our digital citizens”

In the last few weeks, we worked with the Ministry of Health (Ministerie van VWS) to plan out the OpenZorgData Workshop and help inspire the community of developers to use the data for social and entrepreneurial good.

The turn out was great!!  We have more then doubled (2X) the number of attendees to the workshop from the previous workshop that took place in Amsterdam. First up in the morning data pitch session was, Ron Roozendaal (CIO of the Ministry of Health), who took a few minutes to introduce all the stakeholders within the Ministry and the newly opened data sets. He exuded enthusiasm and excitement!

Our workshop kicked off at 11:45 with standing room only, but when I asked how many people were hackers planning to use the open health data, only one guy raised his hand (but noted that he had no plans of doing it that day). Here we are: room full of people, Ministry of Health in the room and not one single individual was planning to hack away at the data. We carried on with the presentations where Lany Slobbe, Hans Loonen & Christian Gonzales presented their respective data sets. The workshop presentations finished off with Seth van den Bossche from TNO presenting their open data & Atilla Erdodi showcasing an open API he put on top of the KiesBeter data (opened up back in June of 2012).

This is when I saw a few more young guys on the floor and these were the guys that saved the day for Open Zorg Data. Jan-Willem Manenscijn, Jens de Waard & Rik Nijessen, students from Delft decided to use the data form TNO and combined it with Rotterdam open data from GGD to create a small app that would allow citizens to look for specific zip code (Rotterdam only for now) and get a rating of the neighborhood based on healthcare, environment, lifestyle and safety scores – all that in just under 6 hours.

I was honored to be on the judging panel with Geerten Eijkelenboom, Director of Rotterdam Internet Valley, Paul Rutten, who is an influential researcher, and two others. We had a tough decision to make for the three prizes (1 for Mobility, 1 for Health and 1 for overall business concept). Together we decided not to award a mobility prize given the app did not fully use the data elements, however that same team did win the overall business concept prize (the idea is similar to Blue Book Car Value).

For health, we did decide to award the 500 Euro prize sponsored by Health 2.0 to the one and only team that showcased their innovation in pulling together disparate data sets. But here are some more great news: all three guys also got awarded FREE conference tickets to Health 2.0 Berlin as well as a second 1,750 Euro spot prize form the Rotterdam Internet Valley if they take their concept further.

This is great news for OpenZorgData community to inspire more developers to use health data to create apps. This is also great news for the Ministry of Health, since the next release of the above app, will use the additional data sets already opened to overlay into the overall score (for ex Cost of Illness data).

But most importantly, this is great news for the citizens of Netherlands; the seemingly small but sure steps that the Ministry has taken to show the importance of working with the community to help us, the digital citizens, make better choices when it comes to health!

Once again congratulations to Jan-Willem Manenscijn, Jens de Waard & Rik Nijessen for helping OpenZorgData off the ground!

I look forward to continue growing this young community of innovators!

Are you?

Borukhovich is the CEO of Initium Consulting Group and the Health 2.0 NYC & Amsterdam chapter founder.