Harvard's Ash Center Launches New Project on Transparency and Technology for Better Health

September 28, 2017
Phone Stethoscope
New project asks, can transparency and technology make us healthier?

Cambridge, MA – Today the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, a leading research center housed at Harvard Kennedy School, announced The Project on Transparency and Technology for Better Health, a new research initiative to examine how advances in transparency and data sharing may lead to better health outcomes.

New digital platforms promise to empower patients by allowing them to produce and share their own health data and connect with other patients, physicians and doctors like never before. Yet evidence shows that often data sharing fails to mobilize patients, that translating information into better health can be problematic, and that vulnerable populations might be left behind by information tools.

“With this project, we want to clarify the pathways between transparency and better health, understand how new technologies are helping patients reap the benefits of transparency and social connection. We will explore whether these digital innovations are helping everybody or only the most tech-savvy among us” explains Archon Fung, the project Principal Investigator and Ford Foundation Professor of Democracy and Citizenship and Academic Dean at Harvard Kennedy School.

The project, funded through the generous support of The Commonwealth Fund, will produce a series of case studies and an academic article on platforms that empower patients through information. Researchers Archon Fung and Elena Fagotto will develop an inventory and typology of initiatives to better understand which characteristics are more likely to support patients’ use of transparency tools to improve their health. Ultimately, these findings fill a critical gap in the literature and can improve the design of future digital platforms to improve people’s health.

The project is an initiative of the Transparency Policy Project at Harvard Kennedy School. Further information on the project can be found at www.transparencyforhealth.ash.harvard.edu.

About the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation
The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation advances excellence in governance and strengthens democratic institutions worldwide. Through its research, education, international programs, and government innovations awards, the Center fosters creative and effective government problem solving and serves as a catalyst for addressing many of the most pressing needs of the world’s citizens. For more information, visit www.ash.harvard.edu.

Contact Information:

Daniel Harsha
Associate Director for Communications
Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation
Harvard Kennedy School