The USDA’s multilingual FoodKeeper app has been updated to include three options for receiving food recall updates and expands storage timelines to over 500 products. This post was originally published on the USDA blog. The Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced new updates to its popular FoodKeeper application that will provide users with new access to information on food safety recalls. The app has been updated so users can choose to receive automatic notifications when food safety recalls are announced by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the Department of Health and Human Service’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
It is incumbent upon FDA to ensure that we have the right policies in place to promote and encourage safe and effective innovation that can benefit consumers, and adopt regulatory approaches to enable the efficient development of these technologies. By taking an efficient, risk-based approach to our regulation, FDA can promote health through the creation of more new and beneficial medical technologies. We can also help reduce the development costs for these innovations by making sure that our own policies and tools are modern and efficient, giving entrepreneurs more opportunities to develop products that can benefit people’s lives.
As localities struggle with issues such as the Zika virus and the Opioid epidemic, gathering and disseminating trustworthy information can be daunting. But one group of Federal agencies and offices have come together to create a free and easy way to incorporate public health web content, images, video, microsites, data, and infographics into other sites, apps, and social media. Digital media syndication of science-based resources from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) can be combined with your ongoing activities and can help coordinate health messaging for maximum impact and reach.
Summary: EPA, FDA, and USDA unveil two documents as part of the Administration’s continuing effort to modernize the Federal regulatory system for biotechnology products. Today, the Federal government has taken an important step to ensure public confidence in the regulatory system for biotechnology products and to improve the transparency, predictability, coordination, and, ultimately, efficiency of that system. In 1986, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued the Coordinated Framework for the Regulation of Biotechnology, which outlined a comprehensive Federal regulatory policy for ensuring the safety of biotechnology products.
Have you ever taken your prescription to the pharmacy, the one that you fill regularly, and the pharmacist hands you pills that have a different name and look quite different from what you regularly get? As a chemist by training, I try to curb my initial anxiety by checking out the composition. However, I have always looked for reassurance from the pharmacist that he/she has dispensed an equivalent generic drug at the direction of my doctor.
A recent DigitalGov webinar on syndicated content and the recent achievements of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention helped open my eyes even wider to the possibilities of open and structured content. By offering critical health information via syndication, CDC and other Department of Health and Human Services agencies are helping resource-strapped local agencies share critical Web content with very little effort. APIs and Syndication Structured content and APIs form the core of any open content platform, whether it be syndication or other types of data sharing.
I (virtually) attended the Third Annual Safety Datapalooza last Thursday and was greatly impressed by the projects and initiatives for public safety. This was a great event, and I am glad that live streaming was provided for those who could not attend in person but have a great interest in using government data for disaster preparedness. If you have not already visited disasters.data.gov, please do. It is a great portal for data, apps, and tools for developers who want to help build vitally-needed public safety resources.
Innovators are made, not born. This summer, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began cultivating the next generation of federal innovators through a summer incubator boot camp, aimHI. AimHI is a pilot program to get high school students excited about careers in health information technology, medical devices and public service. Instead of traditional internships, which can be cost-prohibitive and focused on menial tasks, aimHI provides a free opportunity where students learn by doing and by creating their own experiences.
Federal agencies have used prize competitions and challenges to drive competition and spark innovation for nearly a decade. In September 2010, as part of President Obama’s Strategy for American Innovation [PDF], the Administration launched Challenge.gov, an online platform that enables federal agencies to engage civic innovators, entrepreneurs, and citizen scientists in prize competitions and challenges designed to help carry out agency missions and benefit society. The Administration is helping organize two events this week to celebrate the success of Challenge.
The #SocialGov Community is coming up on three years of hard work and pushing the boundaries on using social tools across the federal government. I’d like to start this round up by taking a look at the event we hosted last year, State of the #SocialGov 2014: 2 Years of Smashing Silos + Elevating Citizen Services with Social Media. Justin Herman, #SocialGov Community Lead, moderated a talk looking at the work delivered by the SocialGov CoP over the past 2 years and looked ahead to the next year.
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires federal agencies to use accessible information and communication technology (ICT), whether procured, developed, or maintained. Since the U.S. Access Board issued regulations for the law in 2000, much implementation guidance has been prepared by various agencies. While the regulations are being refreshed to account for changes in ICT over the years, we can take advantage of existing guidance that applies accessibility guidelines in contemporary contexts.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s new “DrugShortages” app gives the public access to important—and sometimes critical—drug shortage information easier and faster than ever before. Drugs in short supply can delay or deny needed care for patients. Shortages may also lead health care professionals to rely on alternative drug products, which may be less effective or associated with higher risks than the drug in shortage. The app uses a searchable database to provide real-time information to key stakeholders, including health care practitioners and pharmacists.
Anything built should be built right. It doesn’t matter if it’s built of wood, carbon nanotubes or code. So it’s encouraging that the practice of User-Centered Design—getting customer feedback at every stage of a project—is catching on with APIs as well. When we think APIs, we mostly think of developers and not designers. But the experience of those who want to use your APIs isn’t just dependant of the strength and elegance of your API.
Users don’t like surprises. Unexpected or unwanted content undermines the credibility of your agency and frustrates users who come to your website looking for specific information. Using links appropriately in your website content is one way to build trust with users, according to an article by Kara Pernice of the Nielsen Norman Group. Here’s a real life example: If the link above led to an article about 3D printing, you’d probably be pretty annoyed right now.
Social media for public service is a diverse field that uses platforms and data from both the private and public sectors to improve citizen services, make them easier to access and deliver them more cost effectively. It is not just public affairs or communications, but spreads into customer service, resource development and more. Many of the best examples of social media in government can’t be seen on the surface of a tweet or post, but in how these collaborative, engaging strategies improve the processes of public services themselves.
The new second draft of the U.S. Public Participation Playbook incorporates changes that were proposed from nearly 100 suggestions submitted after the first week of public comment, with more improvements to come. We still need your contributions for this groundbreaking new collaborative resource to measurably improve our participatory public services across government, and would like to take this opportunity to share what we have learned so far.
Sonia stands at the pharmacy counter, flashing her most brilliant smile. Jorge, the handsome neighborhood pharmacist, dispenses his own easy smile as they chat. Sound like an ordinary soap opera? This telenovela is actually a tool to help Spanish-speaking women make smart medication decisions. The four part telenovela series ¡Nunca Más! was developed by the Office of Women’s Health in the Food and Drug Administration. The office works to make all of their materials available in Spanish, and the popularity of telenovelas in the Spanish-speaking community made the project a perfect fit for delivering important health information.
Several federal agencies and offices have worked together to create a free and easy way for public health partners to incorporate our Web content, images, video, data, and infographics into other sites, apps, and social media. Through digital media syndication, the science-based resources of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) can be combined with your ongoing activities at the state and local levels, and can help coordinate health messaging for maximum impact and reach.
Tuesday, October 7 at 2pm ET, the National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health will host a Google Hangout to talk about developing with the API, data, and open source code from Pillbox. I (Pillbox project manager), Mark Silverberg of Social Health Insights (builder of super cool health apps), and Maya Uppaluru of ONC (leads their Innovation Engagement program) will go under the hood of Pillbox.
Last March, the openFDA team shared their still-in-progress API to potential users as part of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA)’s API Usability Program. FDA created openFDA to allow researchers and developers to search their vast trove of public data, including information about adverse events (reports of undesirable experiences associated with the use of a medical product in a patient) submitted to the agency. The API Usability Program brings together developers from agency APIs and the private sector to evaluate how the API can be improved to be more user friendly.
We wanted to learn a little more about the Office of Women’s Health at FDA, where Alison Lemon, the SocialGov Community Knowledge Manager, works. So we sat down with Alison and learned about the interesting social media approach her office has taken, some of the thinking behind their strategy and what she sees as the future of social media in government. You can also follow her office’s work @FDAWomen.
It is easy to start a business today and especially an Internet-based business. Using the cloud, APIs, and hosted applications, an entrepreneur can quickly build a website/mobile app. The entrepreneur can hire freelancers to do everything from creating a logo to writing a business plan. Virtual assistant services can provide on-demand staff to meet business needs. Yes, it is easy to start a business. The hard part is creating and sustaining a business.
The Department of Health and Human Service’s Mobile REMM App provides physicians and emergency medical staff with the latest and greatest information concerning radioactive and nuclear emergencies. Available on iOS, Android, and Blackberry platforms, the native application showcases comprehensive information concerning dose estimators and resources to initiate a variety of triages on site without requiring mobile connectivity. After its April update to 2.0.1, users now have access to management algorithms that provide scenario-based flowcharts to help in treatment decision making.
The API Briefing: How APIs Provide Localized Information – NOAA’s Weather Service Data and FCC’s Broadband Services Map
The two featured APIs this week are excellent demonstrations of personalizing federal government data by where a user lives. Federal agencies collect a considerable amount of community data, from the Census Bureau’s surveys to the FDA’s local agricultural conditions. Thanks to GPS, app developers can locate a user’s immediate geographical location and tailor information based on the latitude and longitude coordinates. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has an API that provides current conditions and a four-day forecast by locating the nearest NOAA station to the user’s geographical coordinates.
Now that Thunderclap has been approved for government use for nearly a year, we checked in with two agencies that have successfully used the crowd-speaking tool to rally their supporters and amplify their messages. In case you missed it, you can replay the webinar. What Makes a Thunderclap? Nicholas Garlow, public affairs specialist with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) used Thunderclap to support Open Enrollment Season for Healthcare.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just released the OpenFDA Research Project. At the heart of the project is the OpenFDA API, which allows developers to perform searches on FDA’s drug information database. Coming soon is the ability to search FDA information on medical devices and information about food. Visit the FDA’s API Basics page to learn how to access OpenFDA including interactive sample queries. The FDA’s API documentation is a great example of how to create detailed guidance for developers.
At the DigitalGov Citizen Services Summit last Friday, Jacob Parcell, Manager, Mobile Programs at the General Services Administration led a panel on the challenges and benefits of Inter-Agency work. The other panels were on performance analysis, customer service across channels, and public private partnerships. “The challenges are real,” said Parcell, who quoted President Obama’s famous salmon quandary: “The Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they’re in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them when they’re in saltwater,” Obama said.
At the DigitalGov Citizen Services Summit last Friday, more than 200 innovators across government and industry came together to share how digital services can improve citizen services and reduce cost. Four panels convened to share information on performance analysis, customer service across channels, public private partnerships and inter-agency work. We have a recap of the Performance Analysis Panel below. How do you show and track performance in 21st century digital government?
openFDA launched today and with it the first publicly available dataset—Drug Adverse Reaction and Medication Error Reports—that covers more than 4 million records from 2004 to 2013. The openFDA team compiled 10 things to help developers use this dataset more effectively, including: Interactive examples created by the openFDA team to give perspective to the data. The example scenarios with queries help teach how to perform different types of searches on the data.
Last week, we discussed National Women’s Health Week (NWHW) as an example of a coordinated campaign that used digital tools. Social media has made building campaigns easier by enabling us to quickly reach out to groups with similar missions as well as to engage with citizens. Here are the highlights from the webinar and some initial metrics, and in case you missed it, you can replay the webinar here.
Smartphones, tablets, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, not to mention your agency’s desktop website, are all clamoring for information, but sliced and diced in different ways. How can you make your content adaptive for efficient delivery to all of these mediums? Structured content and open content models can help you create content that is platform-agnostic, format-free, and device-independent. We’ve created two open and structured content models that we want you to use and adapt.
User testing isn’t just for websites—it’s for any product that has an audience. Which is everything, really. And that includes print materials, signage and infographics as well. Focusing on the User Experience is especially vital for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is committed to effectively communicating about products that affect the public on a daily basis. Brian Lappin works for the Risk Communication Staff at FDA. His team supports the agency in making sure that all types of communications—video, graphic and Web—are easily understood.
Welcome to the new home of openFDA! We are incredibly excited to see so much interest in our work and hope that this site can be a valuable resource to those wishing to use public FDA data in both the public and private sector to spur innovation, further regulatory or scientific missions, educate the public, and save lives. Through openFDA, developers and researchers will have easy access to high-value FDA public data through RESTful APIs and structured file downloads.
We were hoping for 30, but we got more than 100 user experience professionals and novices on Jan 28, 2014, for our User Experience (UX) Summit at the General Services Administration. The event was sponsored by the User Experience Community of Practice and the DigitalGov User Experience Program. Here’s what we discussed: The Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) Three speakers shed some light on the vitally important PRA process: Bridget C.
It’s late at night. Your child can’t sleep: She has some kind of virus. You reach for a bottle of over-the-counter infant fever reducer you bought recently. But wait, you say to yourself: Didn’t I hear on the news something about a recall? Which brand was that again? Thanks to the digital team at the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, you now have access to the latest drug and food product recalls the agency oversees right at your fingertips thanks to their new mobile-friendly FDA.