Listening to the debate about President Obama’s health care plan, some critics argue that Obamacare is going to need Obamacare — because it’s going to be a “train wreck.” Obama officials insist they’re wrong. We’ll just have to wait and see whether the Affordable Care Act, as the health care law is officially known, surprises us on the downside. But there is one area where the law already appears to be surprising on the upside. And that is the number of health care information start-ups it’s spurring. This is a big deal.
The combination of Obamacare regulations, incentives in the recovery act for doctors and hospitals to shift to electronic records and the releasing of mountains of data held by the Department of Health and Human Services is creating a new marketplace and platform for innovation — a health care Silicon Valley — that has the potential to create better outcomes at lower costs by changing how health data are stored, shared and mined. It’s a new industry.