March 17, 2015

Dr. Nirav Shah moderates panel

Closing out day 1 of this year’s Open DataFest II conference, moderator Nirav R. Shah, MD, MPH, senior vice president and chief operating officer for Clinical Operations, Quality and Risk, for Kaiser Permanente Southern California, challenged those attending the closing session on “How Local Governments Are Using Open Data to Drive Innovation and Citizen Engagement” with a call to action. Hundreds of attendees from across the state were asked, “How are you using open data internally and how can it be used to improve the delivery of services? You can be a part of inspiring citizen engagement and benchmark success that will accelerate a transformation for the improvement of services to the community.”

The consumers of the data provided by the California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS) Open Data Portal are often local communities and counties. Dr. Shah’s session was designed to explore how local jurisdictions are using open data today and discuss their plans and ideas for accelerating adoption and usage in the future. In addition to Dr. Shah as moderator, the panel included Abhi Nemani, chief data officer for Los Angeles County, and Joy Bonaguro, chief data officer, for San Francisco City and County, and Regan Foust, PhD, senior management Data and Research for the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health.

logo of the Open Datafest held in March 2015

Some of the country’s leading authorities on health, human services and “open data” — and on the vital, growing connections among those fields — are attending the two-day conference to explore ways of utilizing cutting-edge technologies and statewide information-sharing to tangibly improve the well-being of California’s residents. The invitation-only annual event, Health and Human Services Open DataFest II, at the Sacramento Grand Ballroom is sponsored, for the second year, by the CHHS and the national Stewards of Change Institute (SOCI), with key support from the California HealthCare Foundation. “Open DataFest gives us a unique opportunity to deepen and strengthen collaboration among the government, nonprofit and the private sectors with a singular objective in mind: identifying and implementing achievable innovation that we can use to advance the health and well-being of the people in California,” said Michael Wilkening, CHHS undersecretary. CHHS is increasing access to public health, health care, human services and other data, driving meaningful use and spurring data-driven innovation, while leveraging such efforts to enhance the spectrum of HHS programs across the state.

“This is a fascinating opportunity for the speakers and other attendees, including journalists and bloggers, because they get to hear from some of the most creative and successful thought leaders in our state and our country, all here in one place and with one purpose,” said Daniel Stein, SOCI president. The mission of the Stewards of Change Institute, a nonprofit think tank, is to improve the lives of tens of millions of children and adults across the U.S. by initiating, inspiring and instilling transformational change in HHS systems at all levels of government, industry and nonprofits.

“I went in to public service for the very reason that brings us to this conference. At the end of the day, I have the opportunity to help my fellow citizens live better lives. Every day we see opportunities to advance that goal. What are you going to do tomorrow to get that data out so we can answer those important questions that will change people’s lives,” noted Dr. Shah. “Your government is here and leadership is committed to this; help them figure it out and be an active participant.”

Dr. Shah joined Kaiser Permanente Southern California in May 2014 and is responsible for ensuring the delivery of high-quality care and service to the more than 3.8 million Kaiser Permanente members in Southern California. Prior to joining Kaiser Permanente, Dr. Shah served as the New York State commissioner of health. Dr. Shah is board-certified in Internal Medicine, an elected member of the Institute of Medicine and was the inaugural recipient of HDC’s Health Data Liberators Award. He is a graduate of Harvard College, Yale School of Medicine and UCLA’s Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program. Beginning in August 2015, Dr. Shah will serve a three-year term on the board of directors for the Health Data Consortium. The board provides governance, oversight and support to catalyze and lead a growing national movement to improve health care through the availability and use of health data. The Health Data Consortium is a non-profit, public-private partnership working to foster the availability and innovative use of open health data to improve health and health care.