California’s Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) Delivers Easier Health Data Analyses with OpenGov

POPULATION: 39.3 Million | AGENCY TYPE: State Agency | ANNUAL BUDGET: $165 Million

Challenge:

To manage California’s rising healthcare costs and aging population, stakeholders from academics to legislators to hospital and association staff needed easy access to reliable financial data to inform decisions and improve operational efficiency.

Solution:

A cloud solution that makes 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.

About OSHPD:

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.


“Without data, decision-makers are pretty much blind to what’s going on. With OpenGov, they can ask and answer questions right from their desktops without a team of analysts with them.”
Robert P. David, Director, OSHPD

What led you to select a cloud solution?


Openness and transparency aren’t just buzzwords at OSHPD. We had been looking for a new, modern way to display data to make it interactive. 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. The Citizen Engagement solution of OpenGov Smart Government Cloud™ allows users to drill down into the unique details most relevant to their needs. 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.


How did moving to a cloud platform change the way people use data?


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. You can see a picture and then drill down for more information.



How has OpenGov made analysis more effective?


OSHPD’s data originates from the hospitals themselves and not the department. But hospitals can use OSHPD OpenGov reports to see their own data in an easier format. A hospital, for example, can now quickly see its exact expenditures for emergency room supplies, whereas retrieving that information before would have required significant analyst hours or a highly sophisticated technology infrastructure. From a centralized, secure, and reliable source, hospitals can also see how much of their revenue or income is from patient-level versus non-patient care.

For analyses, many users require data on the type of payers covering services. For example, the platform allows them to compare similar counties to see how many patients come into a facility with Medicare coverage, are self-pay, or are uninsured. They can also layer that data with patient ages to conduct a different type of analysis. Clicking on a Length of Stay report that includes payer data can illustrate a situation that requires further inquiry, such as whether lengthier stays occur under certain types of payers. OpenGov visually brings to light such noteworthy scenarios and facilitates deeper research. With OpenGov, they can ask and answer questions right from their desktops without a team of analysts with them.



Many facilities have issues with staffing. Has OpenGov helped with that?


For policymakers and administrators, data can support or rebut claims that staffing is insufficient for patient levels. In California, for a time, nurses were publicly citing inadequate staffing levels. With OpenGov, anyone can go to the cloud-based platform and compare the staffing at different hospitals down to position type and whether those positions are salaried or contract. You can now see that a particular general care hospital has X nurses and that the different Kaiser model employs Y, and you can compare those to make smarter staffing decisions.


Tell us about how your cloud solution is impacting policymaking


Many of OSHPD’s data users compare various types of data and levels to shape effective policy. OpenGov has enabled healthcare stakeholders in California to access and utilize data more effectively to generate ideas or support resource allocation. The available financial data is, however, just one piece of the puzzle. OSHPD plans to build on this success by bringing other important data sets, such as utilization and long-term care, into the OpenGov platform.

Results

  • On-Demand Access to Healthcare Data. 

    Stakeholders can access fully transparent, visualized online data with flexible search options.

  • Deeper Analysis Informs Research

    Decision-makers and journalists are more empowered to analyze hospital data.

  • Time-savings and Process Efficiencies

    Eliminated time required to compile comprehensive reports for analysis and research by replacing cumbersome spreadsheets.

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