Government as a Platform for Progress: HHS’s Open Government Plan
By Mary Wakefield, Ph.D., RN, HHS Idea Lab
One of the first actions President Obama took after taking office was to direct federal agencies to find new ways to increase transparency, collaboration and public engagement. Since then, one of our top priorities at HHS has been to make our Department more open and accountable to the people we serve.
With the publication of our fourth HHS Open Government Plan, we’re building on our past performance in making government more transparent to the public and engaging in new ways of collaborating and partnering with our stakeholders.
All across HHS, we’ve been working to identify projects, policies and perspectives that will be our focus over the next two years for continued progress. In our latest plan, you’ll see that we’re finding new ways to connect with stakeholder organizations and the public to identify new opportunities to improve our performance.
We’re seeking new approaches to connect with underserved communities to share ways HHS can help them have the building blocks for healthy and productive lives. Many of these efforts come in the form of making data and information products available to the public.
Over the past eight years, our team at HHS has made available to the public nearly 3,000 datasets that enable the public and private development of technology applications and services that improve our ability to deliver on our mission. These resources are proving to be important ingredients for improving the quality of America’s health care delivery system, enhancing the safety of our food supply, increasing program effectiveness in support of early child development and families in need, and developing new approaches to preventing disease.
In our plan, we highlight the strategies we’re undertaking to implement new legislation that aims to improve transparency in the reporting of financial data for information technology programs, and how we are strengthening our response to the public through Freedom of Information Act requests.
In our plan we also highlight several new cross-cutting flagship initiatives that underscore the key strategies that we’re undertaking with high impact values for our mission. These initiatives, among others, include:
- Enhancing the ways we shape the future of biomedical research through the Precision Medicine Initiative, and recruiting 1 million or more participants to improve our ability to prevent and treat disease based on individual differences in lifestyle, environment and genetics.
- Promoting the Open Payments initiative, which publishes data on the financial relationships between the health care industry and health care providers.
- Speeding the delivery of health data to Medicare beneficiaries, using new applications and data services.
- Undertaking strategic new projects to improve our block grant programs supporting children and families.
- Creating a public comment database for the Physical Activity Guidelines update process. The database, open for comment for the next two years, will play a role in the development of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.
We’re eager to share our plan with you. We encourage you to review the broad array of ways we’re working to improve our service to the public. And we invite you to make your voice heard and engage with us at hhs.gov. Working together, we know we can be even more successful at making government processes more open at HHS.
This blog is a cross-post from the HHS.gov Blog. This article was originally published on HHS Idea Lab and is republished here with permission.