Department of Health and Human Services Chief Technology Officer Bruce Greenstein, and HHS Chief Data Officer Mona Siddiqui, discuss how the department is using data to augment their public-facing services and improve their internal decision-making.
While many agencies are using data to improve management and procurement, the President’s Management Agenda tells agencies to invest in some more public-facing uses as well. The Department of Health and Human Services is on the forefront of data-based public outreach. HHS is using the data in their archives to improve how citizens access their services, and partnering up with the private sector to improve healthcare records. “We have data that comes from people’s birth records to death records, [and] so many of their health episodes in-between… but our goal is really to connect these datasets, make them easier to use for both us at the federal level, to make policy, but also to make this data available so that businesses and companies, health systems and individuals can use it to improve their own health too,” said Bruce Greenstein, chief technology officer at HHS. The information that HHS collects has been used in different ways over the years, but according to Mona Siddiqui, chief data officer at HHS, there’s been a revolution in the use of “open data.” “There has been a really strong focus in the last administration on releasing datasets for public use. Really from the open government movement and enabling the open data movement. The transition has been now to look at how we are using data better internally,” Siddiqui told Government Matters. “There are an enormous amount of data sets that we have at HHS, but we don’t have an ability to share those in a way where we can connect data and use that for better, evidence-based decision making whether it’s for policy or resource allocation. Open data is now the standard and the way we approach how we should be interacting with both researchers and entrepreneurs, but now the focus is also internally.”