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State Data Insight Center Taking Shape

The Center for Data Insights and Innovation within the California Health and Human Services Agency is taking shape and, as it is now configured, would be “cost-neutral” and include 18 redirected positions. Its mission, generally, is to improve the availability, visibility and use of data.

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The state’s largest agency is moving forward on establishing a center to do more with data, as Gov. Gavin Newsom again proposes funding and staffing in his new fiscal year budget.

The California Health and Human Services Agency is standing up the Center for Data Insights and Innovation (CDII) to expand on work accomplished by the agency and to “improve the transparency, efficiency, availability and utilization of data,” while managing its use to promote “person-centered, data-driven decision-making and integrated care and services.” Among the takeaways:

  • Newsom first suggested integrating the offices of Innovation, Patient Advocate (OPA) and Health Information Integrity (CalOHII) to create CDII in the proposed 2020-2021 Fiscal Year state budget, but the initiative didn’t make it into the approved budget. However, work continued last year, with the state building out the transition and consolidation of the offices into CDII. The current plan is “cost neutral,” according to a January Budget Change Proposal, and will “redirect positions and funding from CHHS offices.” (Funding in the current proposed budget shows a negative $166,000 and negative two positions to reflect creation of CDII via shifts in resources and funding.) CDII officially launched Jan. 21, though John Ohanian, CHHS’ chief data officer and CDII’s director,  said recently that the journey to now has been “almost 10 years,” adding: “But the driving factor has been that we want to continue to become more data-driven and more person-centered in how we deliver our services.”
  • CDII will provide data sharing, including moving and expanding the Open Data Portal to CDII from the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD), and iterating on the CHHS Data Playbook to develop shared services models to “leverage purchasing power and scale.” It will provide dashboarding, moving and expanding the CHHS Program Dashboard to CDII from the California Department of Social Services; and moving OPA to CDII, to “manage and expand the consumer-focused data resources and publish the annual report card on quality of care related to health plans,” according to the BCP. And it will do data science, moving the Research Data Hub project from the CHHS Agency Information Office to CDII, developing a Data Academy with courses on data usability and other topics, and developing opportunities to translate data for program staff, to improve program design.
  • CDII will be made up of five divisions. Its Governance Division will have responsibilities including creating a data-sharing framework; developing policies and standards around interpreting standards, laws and practices related to data sharing; and offering “enterprise oversight and leadership of data coordinators’ activities, roles and responsibilities.” The Methods and Tools Division will expand the Data De-Identification Guidelines “to better assist CHHS departments by creating guidance material and training and establishing a Peer Review Team” and expand state health information guidance to other topic areas that could facilitate data exchange. The Outreach Division will create an enterprise data strategy; plan and facilitate the CHHS Data Expo; and create methods for increasing commitment to a “more person-centered, data-driven culture.” The Data Analytics Division will connect with departments to “source, analyze and act upon data from multiple government and public-sector partners to improve decision-making and reform services.” And the Data Infrastructure Division will work with CHHS departments and offices to leverage apps and tools across the enterprise, and connect systems and programs to promote data sharing and use.
  • CDII will have 18 “redirected positions,” according to the BCP: seven positions from OPA; four from CalOHII; two from CHHS’ Agency Information Office; one CHHS Research Scientist II position; and four from OSHPD. Money for the center will include $634,000 annually from CalOHII and $1.2 million annually from OPA. Additionally, CDII’s Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects will receive expenses reimbursements redirected from OSHPD.
Theo Douglas is Assistant Managing Editor of Industry Insider — California.