HHS opens data to app developers

The Health and Human Services department wants researchers and IT developers to use its vast storehouse of data to make new apps. And it’s trying to make it easier for that to happen. The department has created what it calls a Health Indicators Warehouse – a collection of databases on health indicators, along with application programming interfaces built on Web 2.0 technologies. HHS hopes programmers will come up with innovative ways to use the information it’s built up in its databases and make it more relevant and more widely available. The agency says the data sets available through the new APIs include 1200 different health indicators from 170 data sources. To get the ball rolling, HHS started developing some of its own apps using the data last year, as part of the Community Health Data Initiative. The apps, and the APIs, are available at health indicators.gov.