[open-science] Open FDA

Florence Piron florence.piron at com.ulaval.ca
Tue Jun 3 16:58:37 UTC 2014


FDA News Release*

    *FDA launches openFDA to provide easy access to valuable FDA public

    *For Immediate Release*

    June 2, 2014



    Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration launched openFDA
    <http://open.fda.gov/>, a new initiative designed to make it easier
    for web developers, researchers, and the public to access large,
    important public health datasets collected by the agency.

    In alignment with the recent Presidential Executive Order on Open
    Data and the Department of Health and Human Services Health Data
    Initiative, openFDA will make the FDA’s publicly available data
    accessible in a structured, computer readable format that will make
    it possible for technology specialists, such as mobile application
    creators, web developers, data visualization artists and researchers
    to quickly search, query, or pull massive amounts of public
    information instantaneously and directly from FDA datasets on an as
    needed basis.

    OpenFDA utilizes a search-based Application Program Interface (API)
    to collect large amounts of existing publicly available data,
    offering developers the ability to search through text within that
    data, ranking results much like a search using Google would do. This
    method then allows them to build their own applications on top of
    openFDA, giving them a large amount of flexibility to determine what
    types of data they would like to search and how they would like to
    present that data to end-users. This enables a wide variety of
    applications to be built on one common platform.

    “The openFDA initiative leverages new technologies and methods to
    unlock the tremendous public data and resources available from the
    FDA in a user-friendly way,” said Walter S. Harris, the FDA’s chief
    operating officer and acting chief information officer. “OpenFDA is
    a valuable resource that will help those in the private and public
    sectors use FDA public data to spur innovation, advance academic
    research, educate the public, and protect public health.”

    The initiative is the result of extensive research with internal
    officials and external developers to identify those datasets that
    are in recurrent demand and are traditionally fairly difficult to
    use. Based on this research, the FDA decided to phase in openFDA
    beginning with an initial pilot program involving the millions of
    reports of drug adverse events and medication errors that have been
    submitted to the FDA from 2004 to 2013. Previously, the data was
    only available through difficult to use reports or Freedom of
    Information Act requests.

    The adverse events data made available under this initiative do not
    contain any data that could potentially be used to identify
    individuals or other private information. The pilot will later be
    expanded to include the FDA’s databases on product recalls and
    product labeling.

    “Through this new and novel approach to data organization, these
    reports will be available in their entirety so that software
    developers can build tools to help signal potential safety
    information, derive meaningful insights, and get information to
    consumers and health care professionals in a timely manner,” said
    Taha Kass-Hout, M.D., the FDA’s chief health informatics officer.
    “OpenFDA offers a scalable platform that can be easily searched and
    queried across many distinct datasets, and can be easily redeployed
    or altered to fit a variety of purposes, and provides an innovative
    public data search and analytics solution.”

    In addition to providing datasets, openFDA will encourage the
    innovative use of the agency’s publicly available data by
    highlighting potential data applications and providing, a place for
    community interaction with each other and with FDA domain experts.

    The FDA will continually work to identify additional public datasets
    to make available through openFDA. More information can be found at
    open.FDA.gov <http://open.fda.gov/> or you can email the FDA for
    more information at open at fda.hhs.gov <mailto:open at fda.hhs.gov>.

    The openFDA Initiative was formally launched with the creation of
    the Chief Health Informatics Officer (CHIO) and the Office of
    Informatics and Technology Innovation (OITI) at the FDA.

    The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human
    Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety,
    effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines
    and other biological products for human use, and medical devices.
    The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our
    nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that
    give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products. ###

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