Leadership, Governance, and Culture Change
Since its creation in December 2009, the HHS Innovation Council has served as the main oversight and coordination body for the HHS Open Government plan, actively leading the way toward greater transparency, participation, and collaboration. The Council plays a pivotal role in facilitating communications and media outreach inside the organization, and to the public about the Plan. For example, through its subcommittees, the Council has advocated for and promoted the use of challenge competitions to acquire innovative solutions, social media in a wide-array of policy and program arenas, and ideation platforms and programs to promote good ideas. In addition, elements of HHS’s Open Government activities were included in the HHS Strategic Plan for 2010-2015, a document that was published after the launch of the initial Open Government plan.
Several new offices and activities focusing on participation and collaboration have been developed since the plan’s inception:
- The Office of the Secretary established a new position to coordinate HHS activities through the Executive Director for Innovation.
- The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services Innovation, within the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, created a variety of initiatives connecting collaborators to promote innovations in health care delivery.
- The Food and Drug Administration, through its new Center for Tobacco Products, has engaged in new technology platforms to communicate new regulations and policies for compliance on oversight of tobacco product sales.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention established a new innovation fund to support early stage products offering new means for staff to collaborate with external organizations on new concepts for promoting better health.
- The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health launched its Healthy People 2020 objectives and used a variety of community outreach activities to engage leaders in taking on new efforts to meet leading targeted indicators of health performance.
- A New Media committee of the HHS Innovation Council was formed to implement best practices and take on policy issues related to uses of new communication platforms to facilitate better information dissemination, outreach, and input from the public.
- The Secretary announced a task force in 2010 to address the dissemination of mobile health messaging technologies, such as text messaging. A prime example of this was the Text4Baby platform that enables new and expectant mothers to sign up for text messages about health and healthy behaviors for newborns. The task force also addressed broader uses of social media for enabling the dissemination of health information that are customized to meet specific audience needs.
- And, HHS recently addressed its ability to communicate with the public through a revision to its social networking policies thereby enabling HHS employees to use social networking platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube for engaging with the public and providing new avenues for participation and collaboration on a wide array of matters.
In August 2011, Secretary Sebelius announced new plans for governance of data assets at HHS. Operating and Staff Divisions were given guidance on appointing representatives to the Health Data Leads community that meets semi-annually to report on transparency activities. Secondly, a new subcommittee of the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics (NCVHS) was formed to address data access and use policies at HHS. The NCVHS featured a session at its March 2012 public meeting aimed at gaining input on new data services beginning in 2012 at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The Health Data Leads serve important roles in working with stakeholder communities and are engaged with formal data presentations at many events featuring the Health Data Initiative.