Making Public Healthcare Data More Usable and Useful

Public data is collected and used as the basis for decision and policy making in governments and departments. What happens when you decide to implement an open data initiative?

California’s Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) collects and disseminates information about California’s healthcare infrastructure. It monitors the construction, renovation, and safety of hospitals and skilled nursing facilities. Part of OSHPD’s mission is to ensure quality healthcare through providing transparent financial information.

However, like many government departments today, OSHPD found that legacy systems of providing full data sets, pivot tables, and static charts were no longer was as useful or effective as they could be. “We’re stewards of the public’s data, so it is incumbent upon us to be good stewards and manage that data so that all types of constituents and stakeholders can access it in a meaningful way,” says Michael Valle, Manager, Tech, Policy & Planning, OSHPD.

Technology and cloud-based data platforms have transformed the data landscape, and open data is fast becoming a new standard in modern government practices. As part of their open data initiative, OSHPD turned to OpenGov for the technology to make data easily accessible, visualized, and transparent—while offering the flexibility for stakeholders to quickly drill down to the unique details required for analysis and decision making.

“We partnered with OpenGov to make hospital data easier to consume and more flexible for analysis. It was important for us to let people easily access and query data in the ways they want to, not in the way that we’ve determined they can,” says Robert P. David, Director, OSHPD. As a result, OSHPD is using technology to be more innovative and customer service oriented and setting the standard for its data by making it easily accessible in an intuitive, digital format.

Before OSHPD began publishing data through OpenGov, if a legislative staff person or an association representative wanted to examine hospital staffing levels, doing so required heavy analytical skill and technical capabilities to manipulate sizeable data files. Similarly, academics or reporters trying to untangle hospital spending would have to wade through dizzying spreadsheets and pivot tables that did not always function properly. “If you have a table with thousands of columns in it and you would like to look at it by county or district, you can’t easily get a picture or quick analysis of what’s going on. Instead, OpenGov’s cloud-based platform provided the department with a way to be responsive and provide dependable data to many different users at both high and granular levels of detail. In OpenGov, it’s easy to make comparisons with the charts and graphs that are available,” David notes.

Open data has had a major impact on the stakeholders’ ability to easily access, analyze, and use data for better decision and policy making. “We’ve really been interested in driving a broader culture of data and innovation, to really put the two together hand-in-hand, ultimately driving better service delivery from our government programs and better outcomes for the clients who benefit from those programs,” says Scott Christman, Chief Information Officer, OSHPD. “So I’m very excited to be able to respond to those emerging needs from various communities across California, various stakeholders that are active within the healthcare industry and to be able to have some impact on very positive policy making within that space.”

Learn more about how OSHPD is using open data and how your government can, too.

Video: hear OSHPD discuss the value of open data


Read: get more details in the OSHPD case story


Category: Customer Story

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