Refresh planned for to improve usability,  the site designed to be a one-stop resource for health information and health datasets from the U.S. government, will be getting a refresh, reports Federal News Radio.

Damon Davis, director of the Department of Health and Human Services' Health Data Initiative, said the department's Idea Lab will help build new tools to refresh the data portal.  The new platform is expected to launch this summer.

HHS launched the portal as part of President Barack Obama's open government initiative in 2011 with 197 datasets. The portal now has more than 1,900 datasets and hosts apps including Hospital Compare and TXT4Tots. The site contains datasets on obesity and heart disease, hospital Medicare costs, cancer and flu incidence rates and more.

Davis said the redesign aims to support the community of users by providing more usable data--getting away from unstructured data to more data in machine-readable formats.

"When you are trying to do analytics and reach some sort of hardcore knowledge generation, it's just not going to happen with a stack of PDFs, be they in electronic format or whatever," he said.

The portal was originally built using the content management system Drupal and the open-source data portal platform C-KAN, but a lot of patchwork has been required to integrate the two platforms.

The new system is expected to use a more Web services-friendly platform known as D-KAN, which is based on Drupal but includes more capabilities. is expected to provide connections between data owners so they can better share and complement each other's data.

Bryan Sivak HHS chief technology officer, told developers in 2013 that the data on must be made more useful.

A study of institutional and managerial barriers to mHealth apps within federal government, however, found agencies generally shying away from app development that involves the collection of patient data that would fall under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act--a practice that could stifle innovation.

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