California Health and Human Services

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Open Data — Better Lives

I am pleased to announce the launch of the California Health and Human Services Data News Website.  This website will provide updates, news, and other information about the CHHS Open Data Portal and related activities.  Access to information was one of our primary goals in establishing the Open Data Portal, and this new website will help to communicate what is happening in this space.

As we have prepared for this launch, I reflected on what has been accomplished over the last two years and where we are heading.  My view of Open Data has continued to evolve.  I now view our Open Data efforts as an entry point, a relatively low-cost, low-risk way to start talking about how an organization shares and uses its data.

But, it has the potential to be much more than that:

  • It is a way to start thinking about how we interact with customers and stakeholders
  • It is the starting point for discussing how to better utilize data internally
  • It is an opportunity to rededicate the focus of our programs on those who receive services
  • It is a place to start conversations about creating a more engaging and rewarding work environment for our staff, an environment that encourages staff to better utilize data to improve their programs
  • It is a chance to change how we do business, to create more efficient programs that provide better results for the people
  • It is the entry way to cultural change

Open Data has broadened our relationships and interactions with counties and federal agencies.  It has opened relationships with researchers from across the state.  It has provided the common ground for thoughtful engagement with external resource partners to support our goals and objectives. We are more open to risks and opportunities given the foundation we’ve built with Open Data investments.

Below I’ve highlighted some of the things we’ve done and, more importantly, where we are headed.

What we’ve done…

  • Open Data
    • Portal
      • All 12 CHHS departments are publishing data on the CHHS Open Data Portal
      • 169 datasets available in open formats
      • Over 80,000 user visits since Nov 2014
      • Over 8,500 in Feb 2016, highest month yet
      • Launched Data News Website to share updates on the CHHS Open Data Portal and communicate with users about CHHS data
    • Civic Engagement
      • Conducted first California state government code-a-thon in June 2015
      • Produced 15 pilot applications that use data from the portal
      • Partnered with Code for Sacramento to create the WICit application
    • California Health Data Project
      • Partnered with California Health Care Foundation to launch the Health Data Project
      • Engaged regularly with ambassadors across five California communities to understand local needs and work with them to build solutions
      • Developed using agile methodologies, including working in iterative sprints, delivering prototypes, and keeping up a dialogue with users
  • Agile Procurement
    • Launched a new approach for procuring government technology in California with the replacement for the Child Welfare System; this effort was initiated in partnership with 18F, Code for America, and California’s Government Operations Agency
    • This approach breaks apart a monolithic procurement document into modules, which have been sequenced based on business process and end-user priority
  • Let’s Get Healthy California
    • Incorporated lessons learned from open data activities to advance the work of Let’s Get Healthy California, which aims to make California the healthiest state in the nation by 2022
    • Launched Let’s Get Health California interactive website to engage citizens in sharing insights and designing solutions that will transform the health of our state

Where we’re headed…

Across the next year, we hope to expand our relationships with researchers, while improving internal skillsets to better utilize data.  Our interactions with the civic community and media to utilize available Open Data will continue, especially as we expand available data on the CHHS Open Data Portal.  We will focus on ensuring the successful rollout of the Child Welfare System agile procurement and continue to collaborate with counties, federal agencies, and other state agencies.

  • Open Data
    • Building Data Commons platform to foster conversation, collaboration, and support across and outside CHHS departments
  • Data Sharing Agreement
    • Creating data sharing agreement across all 12 CHHS departments
    • Creating an efficient way to utilize data across departments, which would ultimately lead to better decision making and better service to our clients
  • Innovation Office
    • Piloting an Innovation Office modeled off of examples across the federal government, international public-sector investments, city government best practices, and models across California. A few include:  18F, the United States Digital Service (USDS), the HHS Idea Lab, the Government Digital Service (UK), and the San Francisco Mayor’s Office
    • Launching programmatic Use Case Teams (proof of concept projects) across three initial departments – California Department of Public Health, California Department of Social Services, and Department of Health Care Services

We will build on our successes to improve our programs, communicate better with the public, and deliver on our commitment to the people of California.  We see great potential in this endeavor and invite you to join us in imagining the possibilities.

Michael Wilkening
Health and Human Services Agency