Open Data Power: Combating Disease
In this four-part series, we explore the ways that open data transforms the world. Sound extreme? Putting data behind seemingly intractable problems is the best way to tackle them, whether it’s providing access to nutritious food, managing the planet’s natural resource, or, as in this post, combating disease.
Health challenges are best tackled out in the open, with the support of medical professionals, family, friends — and data. Well-organized, shared information clears the haze of opinions and options in modern medicine, and ultimately can boost quality of care. As the founders of health data sharing platform PatientsLikeMe point out, “by sharing our experiences, we can all contribute new data that can accelerate research and help create better treatments.”
ClinicalTrials.gov enables researchers to post information for patients, medical providers, and the public on clinical studies covering an array of conditions and diseases. The site, run by the National Institutes of Health, breaks from the past practice of only publishing final results in academic journals of limited audiences. Now, researchers can upload their data at the outset of a study, and post updates throughout the clinical trial, for all to see.
For more on how health data can fuel innovation, accelerate research, inform policy, encourage innovation, and improve transparency in the marketplace, check out this video on Socrata and health data.