The Sunlight Foundation has launched a health care app called Sunlight Health as a tool to empower consumer choice when making health-related decisions.

The app, available for Android and iOS, takes publicly available information from governments and non-profit groups and divides it into three catagories; (1) health care facilities, (2) medical suppliers, and (3) prescription drugs. Information about the methodology used to gather information can be found here.

iphone-facility_data02Using the phone’s geo-location an individual can enter their zip code and find provider facilities in their area. By utilizing the Center for Medicare and Medicaid’s Hospital Compare database users can view rating for all facilities, details on quality of care and patient services, as well as what coverage is provided for Medicare and Medicaid recipients. The app also uses the CMS database to provide users information about suppliers of medical supplies, from canes to blood glucose monitors, complete with merchant contact information and products sold.

Sunlight leveraged the Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs report to provide users information about their prescriptions. Users can simply search by drug name or class, and the app provides a cost comparison of the name brand and generic version (if applicable), information regarding drug class, and other chemicals in that particular drug class.

“Everyday, data is collected, analyzed and distributed on how hospitals are treating patients, what drugs are being prescribed and how our elderly are being cared for, but its often cumbersome to find,” said Ellen Miller, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Sunlight Foundation. “And beware, the data is not perfect nor comprehensive. However, Sunlight is experimenting in developing apps based on government data to explore the importance of it for consumers. Sunlight Health makes it easier to sort through the latest data from the government and private sector, so people can be more savvy healthcare consumers”.

For years the Sunlight Foundation has been among the most innovative big data app developers. Sunlight developed Sunlight Health in partnership with the Knight Foundation.