Sallie Keller presented JASON report, A Robust Health Data Infrastructure ( ), at a Robert Woods Johnson Foundation Briefing on Building the Information-Rich Culture of Health on August 20, 2014. See

Organizing health and health care information so that those who need it can access and use it, quickly and easily, while still protecting patients’ privacy, is critical. That’s why, in 2013 RWJF collaborated with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), and asked a prestigious group of the nation’s scientists and academicians to tackle the issue. The group, known as the JASONs has been advising governmental agencies, such as DARPA, on science and technology matters for more than 50 years. The report it produced, “A Robust Health Data Infrastructure,” represents one of the first times—if not the first time—that federal agencies have asked the JASONs for assistance with a health-focused question.

The report recommends that ONC prompt the development of an overall software architecture that could make robust health data exchange possible nationwide. The architecture would be based on “open” standards for collecting data. Developers of EHRs would have to publish so-called application program interfaces—the directions for how various software components can connect with each other. Such a system would be similar to the arrangement that allows millions of developers to create apps that connect to proprietary smartphone software developed by an Apple or Samsung.

The JASON vision frames the big technical data infrastructure challenges, but emphasizes that those are surmountable. It does not, however, deal specifically with many of the other barriers to such an effort—including legal, economic, societal and even cultural ones. Those other challenges are likely the most difficult to overcome.

Published by 2014-08-20 03:31 PM, August 17, 2015