Today in the #Health2con Tweetchat A meme emerged around Quantified Self (#QS) and the use of data to help population health. I have hinted at this in a recent slideshare deck: "Quantified Self and The Rainbow Button Initiative -= Creating Quantified Community" okay the deck was actually titled "HealthCamp and the Quantified Self Community" but the thrust of the message was that by donating our data we can help improve health in our communities. For a quick background on the #RainbowButton Initiative check out one of my earlier blogs.
Since the Tweetchat my thoughts have gone towards how we can build some momentum behind the adoption of the Green Button, which would allow you to anonymously donate data.
My proposal for the Green Button is this:
Let's use the Blue Button file format as our base and implement a method to scrub a Blue Button File of different levels of personalized data. We may want to have two or more levels of depersonalization. e.g. 1. Just Remove Name and Address and other contact information, including emergency contact information. 2. Also remove age and date of birth.
If we really want to get fancy we could implement the Red Button (block access to my data) as well and allow people to scroll through their Blue Button file and choose what items they would like to suppress.
Building on the Shoulders of Giants
Taking this approach would allow us to leverage the work that is already being done to unleash personal data using the Blue Button. There are plans afoot to expand the use of the Blue Button to nearly 20M people across the USA thanks to the pioneering work at the Department of Health and Human Services and the Veterans Administration.
As developers start to work with the Blue Button we can expect libraries and utilities to appear that work with this file structure. By creating a post-processor that de-personalizes Blue Button files we gain an adoption advantage. We can leverage the Blue Button work for both creation and import of Blue Button Data.
I welcome your thoughts on this. I would also like to put together a team in San Francisco that could build a Blue Button De-Personalizer. Let's do this as part of the Health 2.0 Developer Challenge on September 24-25 - go here to sign up: http://www.health2challenge.org/code-a-thon/san-francisco-fall-2011/.
Let me know if you are interested in taking part in this initiative at the Developer Challenge. We will need development assistance to create a web-site. Write the file upload, processing and download code. Who is in?