U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park told millions of Twitter followers today that skillful use of “big data” can help patients understand their health status and provide insights into how to improve their own health.
In conjuction with Big Data Week, he answered questions from around the world, focusing on practical applications for large aggregations of data, particularly in the health care field. Parks, who previously held the CTO post at HHS, said privacy concerns are surmountable and that the widespread dissemination of the information can help individuals to care for themselves, as well as helping medical professionals provide better care.
The key, he said, is to “make data liquid and accessible for beneficial use while rigorously protecting privacy,” which he further said is “doable.”
He said the key to encouraging patients to use the data is to make it accessible. He said innovators are “turning it into incredible tools for patients to use.” Librarians, for example, are becoming the “new data liberators” and suggested as an example, those who are interested can
access information from the National Institutes of Health.
Park’s chat — which reportedly generated 413 tweets, reaching an audience of 3.5 million — comes on the heels of the federal government’s announcement last month that it is investing $200 million in big data projects. The government announced that six federal agencies are teaming up to use the money to figure out how to use the burgeoning information. The agencies are: NIH, DOE, NSF, DOD, DARPA, and the U.S. Geological Survey.
Park was formerly the CTO at the Health and Human Service Department. In March, he was named by President Obama as the U.S. CTO, replacing Aneesh Chopra.
Asked during the chat if he believed more in consumer or enterprise IT models for innovation, Park responded: “We believe in both, and more. All hands on deck!”