When was the last time you were asked a question and someone fully listened to your answer? The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) asked, but more importantly, they listened.
RWJF is doggedly working to build a Culture of Health. They understand that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer and that society cannot build a health culture without timely, actionable health information.
RWJF’s newly launched Data for Health Initiative is convening a series of meetings across the country—in Philadelphia, Phoenix, Des Moines, San Francisco, and Charleston–to listen to community leaders talk about what works (and what else is needed) when it comes to leveraging data and technology for health.
On November 6th, the initiative convened over 100 leaders from healthcare, community development, non-profits, industry, and education in Phoenix to ask poignant questions about health information and data.
- How are communities using data to improve health?
- What are their hopes, aspirations, and concerns about various forms of health information?
- What new data do they want to access?
- How can we best collaborate on improving health by sharing data among different sectors?
- How must we secure data?
In terms of responses, featured speaker and Project HoneyBee faculty leader Dr. Eric Hekler may have said it best: “We’re data rich and information poor.”
The packed room also listened intently to Acting Assistant Secretary and National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, Karen DeSalvo. Karen’s passion for improving the health of the nation shines, along with her down-to-earth directness.
The Data for Health advisory committee will be issuing a report and recommendations in early 2015. It was exhilarating to know that our inputs were not only heard, but will be also processed and hopefully acted upon.
Here’s a great quote from RWJF President and CEO, Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, talking about why data is crucial for creating a Culture of Health:
“The sheer volume and velocity of data at our fingertips today is unprecedented. As we build a Culture of Health—a nation where everyone has the opportunity to live longer, healthier lives—it will be critical to ensure communities can effectively use and manage this information in ways that help people get healthy and stay healthy. The Data for Health initiative will be a starting point for identifying what infrastructure is needed to turn this information into an effective tool for improving health nationwide.”
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