Data is essential to provide holistic services to residents
California Health and Human Services Agency (CalHHS) data manager John Ohanian said a relatively new “startup” within CalHHS is laying the groundwork for bringing together high-quality data from across of the state government to better serve Californians.
The Center for Data Insights and Innovation Office (CDII), of which Ohanian is the director, is responsible for transforming data and creating the Data Exchange Framework.
In a recent Techwire member briefing, Ohanian explained CDII’s mission and goals.
“The concept is a startup within CalHHS,” Ohanian said, noting that he was cast for the role by Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of Health and Human Services.
Creating dashboards that bring together information from agencies is a goal, as residents touch multiple departments and organizations at all levels of government. Ohanian mentioned examples such as California Department of Education programs that affect young people, as well as various programs for seniors.
One of the goals is to “put the person back into person-centered service delivery,” which can only be done by bringing that person’s data together at the point of service, Ohanian said. “The second is to be more strategic in our decision-making.
“My real focus is people. What difference can we make by gathering data, and not just gathering data for the sake of data? »
Various healthcare providers collect data but need to share it with each other. Some providers have data in many systems, and there are exchanges to share that data, he said. However, many providers still do not use electronic records or are not connected to exchanges. Connecting providers, residents and data is one of CDII’s goals so that care can be better coordinated.
“There’s no point in a doctor prescribing insulin to someone with diabetes if they’re homeless and don’t have a fridge to keep the medicine cool,” he said. “I’m using a very simplistic example, but it speaks to a lot of people.”
Ohanian has put forward an all-hazards dashboard that will be a leadership tool.
“I think what’s really exciting about it: we call it a dashboard, but really it’s a collaborative tool for leadership,” he said. “Rather than emailing and reporting, all the data is in one place, so when we’re looking at how many installs might be affected or where they’re located, we’re all looking at the same tool.”
An equity dashboard planned for fall release will help providers fill gaps and understand how to better serve citizens.
“At the state, we pride ourselves on focusing on equity first to ensure all Californians are served and that we address disparities in equity and equitable program delivery,” Ohanian said. . High-quality data can help with those missing pieces — and there’s an abundance of data, with CHHS’s 30,000 employees responsible for roughly $200 billion in programming.
Expect the data exchange framework to be established in June with iterative advice from the office. Ohanian said it will be implemented carefully during provider training; he wants those collecting data to understand and feel comfortable with the process of collecting high-quality information.
Ohanian said CDII is always open to opportunities for vendors to pitch ideas and solutions for data management.
“We don’t need to invest in technology,” he said. “It’s not that we choose not to just because we don’t want to, but actually the need isn’t there because the technology already exists and these vendor communities are there, and a lot of these HIE (health information exchange) hubs have technology, have good practices in place, and really, we’re just trying to integrate others.
He also noted that CDII is always on the lookout for new tech talent, especially “data providers, data leaders,” including those working in industry who may be planning to join government.
Prior to joining CDII in 2020 and being named chief last fall, Ohanian was the general manager of San Diego and worked in the private and nonprofit sectors. He holds a business degree from the University of San Diego and a certificate from Harvard in Strategic Insights in Nonprofit Management.
The virtual briefing for Techwire members was led by Alan Cox, executive vice president of Techwire parent company e.Republic, and was registered. It can be viewed by following the link on the initial member registration email.