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3.8 Websites (Digital Services Strategy)

The Department’s signature website is www.hhs.gov. In addition, each OPDIV maintains its own website, and the Department manages a number of topical dot-gov websites including eight priority websites, three of which are cross-federal agency sites.  HHS Digital Strategy webpage is at http://www.hhs.gov/digitalstrategy.

The Department is currently engaged in a year-long project to reimagine HHS.gov.  Called Project-H, this multi-disciplinary effort is based on the following precepts, many of which follow the Federal Digital Strategy:

  • Research-based redesign
  • Customer-focused plain-language content
  • Mobile-first design; any platform, any time
  • Topically organized (replacing office/program-based organization)
  • Institute Lifecycle Content Management
  • Focus on  HHS/Office of the Secretary information and services; leverage OPDIV’s information focus on  their unique missions
  • Search-based navigation, augmented by organic browse
  • Institute consistent site and social branding
  • Balance push and pull
  • Increase customer engagement (expand from passive to proactive)
  • Embrace WCAG 2.0 and insure accessibility for all

We have made significant progress on several foundation aspects of Project-H.  For example, we have reduced the number of files on the site by 79% (from 215,000 to 45,000).  We have designed and are implementing a vastly improved search program.  Our Voice of Consumer application now appears on every page and provides critical customer input into both our redesign and how/what we communicate.  We have developed and deployed a new API-based content syndication system and storefront that allows the average web manager to embed HHS content on their site. We are integrating social media, expanding beyond Facebook and Twitter to incorporate emerging third-party platforms to engage diverse audiences that may never visit a government website.

HealthData.gov (http://www.healthdata.gov) serves as the discovery resource for publicly available data assets, as well as a platform for communications, commentary on, and feedback about the data to improve the public’s understanding of each data set. The platform helps new data users discover resources they may not otherwise know exist.  This site is a flexible platform that acts as a discovery resource for new and seasoned users across the healthcare ecosystem, from researchers to technology developers, and healthcare professionals to academia.  Any organization or individual is free to employ the data to solve problems in the transformation of our nation’s healthcare system through data driven innovations in areas such as: research; technology development; healthcare delivery; academia; policy making; and human services delivery.

HHS is identifying and engaging with key data customer groups like these to help expand the value of our health data assets and prioritize the release of new data. To assist that prioritization HHS intends to capitalize on the quantity and quality of user demand it receives through various feedback channels as well as focusing on the identification of strategically relevant data assets tied directly to HHS’s articulated strategic goals.  To ensure the customer feedback loops are meaningful and robust HHS will regularly review feedback processes and refine them as opportunities and challenges present themselves.

Here are some of the ways HHS seeks opportunities for public engagement:

  • HealthData.gov (http://www.healthdata.gov)
    • Through this catalog data is available in multiple formats for maximum utilization by health care ecosystem participants.  Human readable data and machine readable data formats are accessible which are spawning and feeding key transformations across health care and the delivery of human services.  HHS is working to make broader volumes of machine readable data available.
    • The “Ideas” tab (http://www.healthdata.gov/ideas) on the site is designed to invite the public to provide feedback to HHS.  An idea could be anything from the submissions of data that you’d like to see cataloged on the platform, to ways you would like to see the site improved, or suggestions for communications about data assets and their uses.  These submissions are very informative for our data liberation strategy so send in your great ideas! The section is divided into “Most Recent” submission which is ordered by the date the idea was posted, and “Most Popular” which are ranked by the number of public votes that idea has received.   Each idea can be voted on by the public using a five (5) star rating system (one (1) is the lowest rating, five (5) is the highest). 
    • The “Q & A” tab (http://www.healthdata.gov/questions-answers) offers users an opportunity to ask questions and receive answers from Health Data Initiative (HDI) staff about the data.  HHS is working to associate a direct point of contact individual, by name and email address, with each data set listing in the catalog.   This will allow direct interactions about the data with the experts who have cataloged it.  The tab is broken down by “Most recent” and “Most popular”.
    • Our Blog (http://www.healthdata.gov/blog) offers a robust source of information about the HDI’s activities including the availability of new data, some of the creative and innovative uses of health data, and the technological advancement of healthcare and human services delivery supported by data’s broadening availability. 
    • The HDI staff makes every attempt to address ideas, questions and answers, and blog responses in a timely fashion.
  • Health Datapalooza! (http://www.healthdatapalooza.org) This perennial health data event is a favorite among entrepreneurs, innovators, policy makers, data geeks, researchers and more.  The HDI is widely represented during this event put on by the Health Data Consortium (www.healthdataconsortium.org), a public private partnership between government, non-profit, and private sector organizations working to foster the availability and innovative use of data to improve health and health care.  HHS welcomes this opportunity to engage face-to-face with the many innovators that are using, or seeking to use, publicly available sources to support their work and initiatives.
  • Social Media – More than ever before topical conversations are occurring through social media and the open health data movement is no exception. 
    • You can follow the HDI on Twitter @HealthDataGov.  From this account you will see announcements about new opportunities, new blog posts, and information from others on Twitter that we think is important (which could also be something you post).  
    • Join the health data community online using the Facebook page U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Innovations! https://www.facebook.com/pages/US-Department-of-Health-and-Human-Services-Innovations/443533355685557?_fb_noscript=1. Twitter is great, but sometimes what we have to say needs more than 140 characters.   On our page, you will find highlights coming from the HDI, but more importantly, it is an avenue in which you can engage directly with us.
    • The HDI is also participating in communities on LinkedIn, bringing the information directly to you in established LinkedIn Groups that have been working in the areas we care about the most. Look for us in various communities on LinkedIn.
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