NIH Names Chief Data Officer

Susan Hall

The National Institutes of Health plans to join the federal agencies naming a chief data officer. The sole job of its new associate director for data science will be managing the deluge of biomedical research data coming from areas such genomics, imaging and electronic health records.

Eric Green, director for the National Human Genome Research Institute, has been named to the position on an interim basis.

Futurist and author David Houle told my colleague Don Tennant recently that within three years every Fortune 500 company will have a senior executive in that role. Aside from the Federal Communications Commission, however, the federal government has been slow to join that trend, despite an October report from the industry group TechAmerica that urged the feds to embrace Big Data, Nextgov.com reports.

"There is an urgent need and increased opportunities for advanced collaboration and coordination of access to, and analysis of, the rapidly expanding collections of biomedical data," NIH Director Francis Collins said. "NIH aims to play a catalytic lead role in addressing these complex issues — not only internally, but also with stakeholders in the research community, other government agencies, and private organizations involved in scientific data generation, management and analysis."

The agency is working to increase collaboration as shared research involving numerous public and commercial entities grows, according to a GovernmentHealthIT article highlighting some interesting examples.



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