California Health, Technology Officials Discuss Future of Open Data
During a recent forum, California health and technology officials discussed the next steps for using open data in the state, Government Technology reports.
Details of Forum
At the 2015 California Technology Forum last week, a panel of experts discussed:
- Approaches to using state data;
- Processes for opening data to the public; and
- Whether state controls over open data are necessary.
California HHS Undersecretary Michael Wilkening said he initially was hesitant about releasing information from the agency because his experiences with data typically involved breaches, which left him concerned about HIPAA implications. Wilkening said, "With my background ... when people were talking data with me, it was in terms of data breaches."
However, Wilkening said his concerns have been alleviated and California HHS' efforts to put data on publicly accessible portals have been progressing quickly. At least six departments have gotten involved in analyzing and releasing such data, according to Government Technology.
Chris Cruz, chief deputy director of operations with the California Department of Technology, said his agency also is working to develop policies for sharing data with the public and between state agencies.
Meanwhile, Ash Roughani, founder of Code for Sacramento, said that communication between government departments that release data and consumers has improved with the development of health-related resources.
Stakeholders Mixed on SB 573
Panel members also discussed a bill (SB 573), by state Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), that would establish a statewide framework for open data and require the governor to appoint a chief data officer.
Wilkening said he was concerned the bill would result in rushed department data dumps across the state, which would hinder the usefulness of the data. He said, "I think if you do things in really compressed timeframes, the negatives that come out of it will subsume you pretty quickly."
However, Roughani said the legislation could ensure the stability of open data efforts in the long term. He said, "Legislation gives you the benefit of having this carved out space and having a line item in the budget" (Eidam, Government Technology, 8/14).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.