BOX 3-1HHS Open Government Plan

Key elements (Flagship Initiatives indicated in bold):

  • A multi-faceted new transparency push by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in 2010:

    A new interactive “CMS Dashboard,” debuting in beta mode with the launch of this Open Government Plan, which allows the public to visualize and analyze Medicare spending with unprecedented ease and clarity—starting with inpatient hospital spending. You can visit the Dashboard at http://www​

    Creation of 9 Medicare claim “basic files,” one for each major category of healthcare service, to be released from September to December 2010 for free public download on These files will contain a limited number of variables and be de-identified and configured through a rigorous process, in close consultation with privacy experts, re-identification experts, researchers, and key stakeholders, to ensure the protection of beneficiary privacy and confidentiality

    A significantly improved user interface and analytical tool for viewing existing CMS COMPARE data on quality performance of hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies, and dialysis centers. This interface and tool is debuting at http://data​ with the launch of the Open Government Plan

    Online publication of detailed Medicaid State Plan documents and amendments on the CMS website by 2011

    The release of new national, state, regional, and potentially county-level data on Medicare prevalence of disease, quality, costs, and service utilization, never previously published, as part of HHS’s Community Health Data Initiative by the end of 2010

  • A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Transparency Initiative is being formulated with extensive public input, and focused on (1) providing the public with information regarding how FDA works, (2) proactive disclosure of useful, nonproprietary information in the possession of the agency, and (3) ways in which FDA can become more transparent to regulated industry. FDA is also launching FDA-TRACK (Transparency, Results, Accountability, Credibility, and Knowledge-Sharing), a new agency-wide performance management system, which debuts in beta mode with the launch of the Open Government Plan. FDA-TRACK, when fully implemented, will allow the public to monitor more than 300 performance measures and 80 key projects across 90+ FDA program offices on an ongoing basis
  • Other new data sets and tools to be published from across HHS
  • Implementation of a new process for the proactive identification, prioritization, publication, and monitoring of data releases—to be coordinated overall by HHS’s Data Council. This process will include an “HHS Apps Challenge”—a public competition for the best applications built utilizing our data
  • A major push to assess current HHS operations in support of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), identify and prioritize improvement opportunities, and define a roadmap to implement the improvements [FOIA Excellence]
  • Expanded opportunities for public participation in HHS activities and for collaboration across HHS and with the world outside HHS—especially via the use of new information and communications technologies. Through a new HHS “Community of Practice” for Participation and Collaboration, Open Government innovators at HHS will be able to network with each other, share learnings and best practices, compile these best practices into an HHS “workplace menu” of participation and collaboration tools, compare the efficacy of different approaches, and work together on common issues. The Community of Practice will focus in particular on the advancement of innovative mechanisms for participation and collaboration at HHS—mechanisms that apply blogging, “crowdsourcing,” group collaboration, idea generation, mobile, and on-line challenge capabilities to key HHS activities:

    Medical research collaborations—e.g., via the application of “crowdsourcing” and innovative patient engagement approaches to research on diabetes and women’s health issues

    Collaboration among HHS employees—e.g., via work by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation to research and pilot advanced collaboration tools

    Better health care through better information—e.g., via the community- driven, highly collaborative

    “Nationwide Health Information Network–Direct” initiative being pursued by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology

    Innovation in the workplace—e.g., via the piloting of an online employee idea-generation tool and challenge program by the CMS

  • Community Health Data Initiative. A major new public–private effort whose goal is help Americans understand health and healthcare performance in their communities relative to others—and to help spark and facilitate action to improve performance. As a core enabler of this initiative, HHS will be providing to the public, free of charge and any intellectual property constraint, a large-scale Community Health Data Set harvested from across HHS—a wealth of easily accessible, downloadable data on public health and health care performance across communities, including a major contribution of Medicare-related data from CMS (i.e., prevalence of disease, quality, cost, and service utilization data at the national, state, regional, and potentially county levels). The initiative is simultaneously working with a growing array of technology companies, researchers, health advocates, consumer advocates, employers, providers, media, etc. to identify and deploy uses of the data that would be most effective at
    1. Raising awareness of community health performance,
    2. Increasing pressure on decision makers to improve performance, and
    3. Helping to facilitate and inform improvement efforts.
    Such applications and programs could include interactive health maps, competitions, social networking games that educate people about community health, enhanced web search results for health searches, etc. By leveraging the power of transparency, participation, and collaboration, the Community Health Data Initiative seeks to significantly improve the health of our communities.

From: 3, Clinical Data as a Public Good for Discovery

Cover of Patients Charting the Course
Patients Charting the Course: Citizen Engagement and the Learning Health System: Workshop Summary.
Institute of Medicine (US); Olsen LA, Saunders RS, McGinnis JM, editors.
Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2011.
Copyright © 2011, National Academy of Sciences.

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