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12/9/2009
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Feds Launch Internet Healthcare Initiatives

Department of Health and Human Services programs promote research data sharing, employee collaboration, and flu safety.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launched three Internet initiatives designed to promote the sharing of research information, improve collaboration, and encourage swine flu prevention.

The programs are an implementation of President Barack Obama's principles for promoting open government through transparency, participation, and collaboration, said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a statement.

HHS will stream information about biomedical research innovations as part of the National Assets for High-Tech Economic Growth program. The agency will provide real-time access to information on technologies available for licensing from the National Institutes of Health and Food and Drug Administration intramural laboratories and the NIH's Cooperative Research and Development Agreement. The information will be available on data.gov.

Several agencies are collaborating on the information streaming project, including NIH and FDA, and parts of the Departments of Agriculture and Commerce.

In the second initiative, HHS is launching IdeaLab, a collaboration Web project for employees of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Anyone working at CDC can post an idea or request help with a project, and other CDC employees can post their comments, solutions, and similar experiences, according to HHS. "IdeaLab does not, however, allow anonymous postings or comments as doing so would be contrary to the intent of creating the site--which is to promote transparency, participation, and collaboration."

And HHS is running the YouTube Know What to Do About the Flu and Prevention Contest, to reach the population most vulnerable to H1N1--teens and young adults--and encourage them to take proactive actions such as washing hands and getting flu shots. More than 250 videos were submitted. Ten finalists were selected and put to a public vote to determine the overall winner, which was featured on national television. Runner-up videos were shown on national media outlets and on www.flu.gov.

"These examples illustrate our commitment to the President's vision of promoting accountability, collaboration, and public engagement," Sebelius said. "By working together in a transparent manner, we have developed programs that are making real contributions to creating and adopting impactful solutions that protect and improve people's health."

InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on e-health and the federal stimulus package. Download the report here (registration required).

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