Open Federal Content & Data at the CDC and FDA CTP (OSCON 2014)


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Learn how the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Tobacco Products (FDA CTP) are approaching the open data initiative by opening their federal content for syndication by developers. The massive data stores of the CDC and FDA are now being made available through open APIs that allow developers to access and present this wealth of content across third party sites.

This presentation was made by Eric Davis and Steven Meloan of Forum One, and Thom Williams of the CDC at the 2014 Open Source Convention (OSCON).

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Open Federal Content & Data at the CDC and FDA CTP (OSCON 2014)

  1. 1. CDC and FDA CTP Open Federal Content and Data July 20, 2014
  2. 2. The Big Picture
  3. 3. Digital Government Strategy Big Picture On May 23, 2012, the President issued a directive entitled “Building a 21st Century Digital Government,” launching a comprehensive federal-level Digital Government Strategy. Among other goals, this initiative seeks to: ● Provide an increasingly mobile workforce with access to high-quality digital government information and services—anywhere, anytime, and on any device. ● Unlock the power of government data to spur innovation across the Nation and improve the quality of services for the American people.
  4. 4. Why We Are Here Big Picture As part of the Digital Government Strategy, our team seeks to: ● Raise awareness of health related federal digital assets. ● Determine interests, needs, and focus within such communities. ● Cross-pollinate with open data developer communities focused on healthcare. ● Help to facilitate partnerships and initiatives between such communities and federal health agencies.
  5. 5. Weather, Localization, and More Big Picture ● Some of the most ubiquitous (and profitable) digital services used today are built upon open government data. ● NOAA datasets are used by Channel, and Weather Underground. ● Weather-related data collected by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association provide annual estimated private sector economic value of $10 billion. ● Annual economic value of data from the U.S. Global Positioning System is estimated at approximately $90 billion.
  6. 6. Digital Health Data/Content Big Picture ● Digital federal health offerings span a compelling range from syndicated content (including web, video, images, and infographics), to traditional programmatically accessible numerical data. ● Syndicated content (via pre-packaged API calls) provides the ability to seamlessly layer local, state, and federal information within a single page, increase content offerings, and decrease staff/resource demands. ● Such content is easily added to mobile apps and social media pages.
  7. 7. When Only Data Will Do... Big Picture ● For some needs, nothing replaces raw data--that can be massaged, mashed-up, and interpreted as needed. ● A wealth of currently available federal health datasets--accessible via RESTful interfaces, and via web-based technologies like Socrata.
  8. 8. Configurable, Downloadable Big Picture Federal data sites offer data that is: ● Configurable and viewable online. ● Downloadable (CSV, JSON, XML, PDF, etc.). ● Programmatically accessible via Socrata and CKAN APIs. ● Programmatically accessible via federal API.
  9. 9. Content Syndication
  10. 10. What is Content Syndication? Content Syndication Once content is selected from an online syndication site: ● Returned snippet of JavaScript code embedded within the client site’s web HTML. ● Task can be delegated to even relatively non-technical staff. ● JavaScript snippet is effectively a pre- packaged API call to a federal server, returning selected web content.
  11. 11. Content Syndication How To Access...
  12. 12. Why Content Syndication? Content Syndication ● Growing digital and social media content offerings (web, images, infographics, podcasts, video, data, and more), anticipating both current and future initiative needs. ● Credible, timely, and science-based information from a trusted health information partner. ● Fast and easy discovery and incorporation—freeing-up staff resources. ● Maintains native-site look-and-feel, allowing for easy blending with local content. ● Keeps customers on local site, rather than linking to external web pages. ● Automatically updated and kept current.
  13. 13. Proven Results... Content Syndication As part of a major upgrade/redesign of their departmental web site, Union County Health Department of Ohio has made extensive use of syndicated federal content. UCHD’s metrics on their site, logged before and after incorporating federal health content, demonstrated significant results: ● 26% increase in page views ● 18% increase in site visits ● 12% increase in average visit duration ● 19% decrease in bounce rate (those leaving after only viewing the front page)
  14. 14. Syndication Sites Content Syndication Available federal and state syndication sites:
  15. 15. Local Syndication Content Syndication Note on the previous slide, the inclusion of a state-level syndication site…
  16. 16. Common Look Content Syndication Note the common look and feel between a federal-level syndication site, and the previous ODH state-level site...
  17. 17. Your Own Syndication Site Content Syndication Ohio Department of Health uses the same software technology as numerous federal syndication sites: ● Enabling ODH to provide their own state content to city and county health departments, providing for seamless layering of local, state, and federal content and information. ● Federal syndication software facility available in either Java or .NET instances on the “HHS Digital Media API Platform” SourceForge repository.
  18. 18. Data Repositories
  19. 19. Data Driven Offerings Data Repositories There is also a wealth of more traditionally data-driven federal health repositories. offers: ● Wide array of downloadable datasets. ● Searchable by category. ● Available in a variety of data formats. ● At granularity levels such as county and zip code. ● CKAN-driven catalog API: www.healthdata. gov/catalog-api
  20. 20. Diverse Datasets Data Repositories Sample federal-level hospital comparison dataset (care, mortality, and readmission quality measures)--available via programmatic API, and in downloadable CSV format.
  21. 21. Data Repositories ● Socrata-driven datasets covering a broad range of health topics. ● Web-configurable displays--filterable by such criteria as year and region. ● Viewable in varying formats (bar, graph, pie chart). ● Downloadable in varying data formats (CSV, JSON, XML, PDF, etc.). ● Programmatically accessible via the Socrata Open Data API (SODA).
  22. 22. Data Repositories The Food and Drug Administration’s newly- created OpenFDA initiative seeks to open the department’s massive data stores to easy and programmatic accessibility. The initiative is currently focused on: ● Adverse Drug Events--A database of over 3 million adverse event reports. ● Recalls (coming soon)--Enforcement report and product recalls data. ● Documentation (coming soon)-- Structured product labeling data.
  23. 23. OpenFDA on the Move... Data Repositories OpenFDA was built by developers, for developers, using open standards. The project offers APIs, raw data downloads, documentation, and examples: OpenFDA data and APIs are already being utilized in the market: ● Epidemico’s MedWatcher mobile app ( tracks and reports side-effects of drugs, medical devices, and vaccines, and now integrates OpenFDA adverse event data into its offerings. ● Social Health Insights’ web app ( offers searchable desktop access into FDA’s adverse event data.
  24. 24. Youth Risk Data Data Repositories While not yet API-accessible, CDC’s web- driven “Youth Online: High School YRBS (Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance)” demonstrates the power of granular and localizable federal health data: ● Filterable by state, age, gender, etc. ● Filterable by such youth related health topics as tobacco use, alcohol use, diet, sexual behavior, and more. ● Configurable display--table/graph. http://nccd.cdc. gov/youthonline/App/Default.aspx
  25. 25. Localizable Flu Data Data Repositories While not yet API-accessible, CDC’s FluView site similarly demonstrates the power of granular, localizable, configurable, and downloadable federal health data: ● National and regional level flu dashboard. ● Configurable and filterable data, statistics, displays, and graphs. ● Downloadable images and downloadable data. http://gis.cdc. gov/grasp/fluview/fluportaldashboard.html
  26. 26. Wealth of Content and Data Data Repositories Federal digital health content and data already spans a wide range of offerings: ● Web content ● Ecards ● Podcasts ● RSS ● Images ● Buttons ● Widgets ● Video ● Infographics ● Numerical Data
  27. 27. The New HHS Digital Media Platform Data Repositories New HHS Digital Media Platform (the software/API that powers federal syndication sites) offers: ● Vastly expanded categories of searchable and syndicatable digital offerings--web content, infographics, widgets, buttons, videos, podcasts, ecards, and RSS feeds. Ready, available, and live: ● CDC API: http://tools.cdc. gov/api/docs/info.aspx ● CDC Syndication Site: tools.cdc. gov/medialibrary/index.asp
  28. 28. Cross-Departmental API Data Repositories The New HHS Digital Media Platform also offers: ● Core functionality/API that is common across departments. ● Easy facility to create microsites around a given health topic (such as Tobacco) that combine diverse data and content from multiple federal agencies.
  29. 29. Backward Compatability Data Repositories Meanwhile, CDC’s previous feed/syndication-driven API interface will remain supported, for those institutions currently accessing content in this way: ● Sample Feed API Request:[optional parameter]&format=[optional parameter] &fromdate=[optional parameter] ● Sample Syndication API Request:[required parameter]&[optional parameters]
  30. 30. Local-Level Partner Offerings Data Repositories Many city government sites are following suit with local-level data sites: ● Often similarly powered by Socrata. ● Familiar interfaces and programmatic APIs--facilitating application mashups that combine data from the local, state, and federal levels.
  31. 31. Mobile Apps
  32. 32. API-Driven Public Health Apps Mobile Apps Federal agencies have already developed a wealth of mobile device apps, operating upon their programmatically accessible data and content offerings.
  33. 33. Federal/Local Mashups... Mobile Apps CDC’s “FluView” app demonstrates a federal/local information mashup: ● Mobile device companion to CDC online FluView site. ● Color-coded map of national-level flu trends. ● Active links on map image to state-level flu information/DPH sites.
  34. 34. Public Health Gaming Mobile Apps CDC’s “Solve the Outbreak” iPad app: ● Melds public health education with a full-featured adventure/sleuthing game—letting players investigate and solve a variety of international public health crises. ● Compelling adventure lets gamers learn first-hand what medical epidemiologists do every day in order to keep our world safe.
  35. 35. Looking Forward
  36. 36. Partnerships and Innovation Looking Forward ● Weather and location-based apps demonstrate the power of melding government content/data with private sector technology. ● HHS, CDC, FDA seek to bring similar innovations to open health data. ● Health info made available anywhere, anytime, and on any device, while enabling seamless mashups with related state and local offerings.
  37. 37. Working Together Looking Forward Your imagination as developers can help bring the President’s Digital Government Strategy to full fruition: ● Enable users to access localized flu stats. ● Check CDC-recommended vaccine schedules. ● View localized teen drug/tobacco stats. ● Find nearby disaster relief centers/relevant health advisories. ● Other as-yet unimagined innovations and possibilities!
  38. 38. Resources Looking Forward US Digital Government Strategy: Federal/State Content Syndication Sites ● CDC: ● CDC (v3.0): https://tools.cdc. gov/medialibrary/index.aspx ● FDA/CTP (Center for Tobacco Products): https: // ● NIH/NIAID: https://tools.niaid.nih. gov/syndication/ ● HHS: ● Ohio Department of Health (ODH): https: // HHS Digital Media API Platform (Syndication Software): Federal Data Sites ● ● ● FluView Dashboard: http://gis.cdc. gov/grasp/fluview/fluportaldashboard.html ● “Youth Online: High School YRBS (Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance)” site: http://nccd.cdc. gov/youthonline/App/Default.aspx Mobile Apps:
  39. 39. THANK YOU! Eric Davis edavis@forumone. com Steve Meloan Thom Williams