#DataNews: Releasing Hospital Inspection Data, Chi Hack Night’s Big Anniversary, & More

April 20, 2017 8:10 am PDT | Data News Roundup

This week, Chicago marks the five-year anniversary of a weekly hack night devoted to making the city a better place to live and work. “I literally can say that my life would not be the same without Chi Hack Night,” says Hunter Owens, a Data Science Project Manager for Los Angeles and Chi Hack alum. Meanwhile, in New Orleans, data-driven programs help reduce fire risk and blight and, in Erie County, residents can now track government spending online. Plus, reports on problems found during hospital inspections done by private companies may soon be shared with the public. Read on for more of this week’s big stories.

Effective Analytics Outreach to Departments in New Orleans

“The City of New Orleans’ Office of Performance and Accountability (OPA), the city’s home for data-driven improvements, has had notable successes in using analytics to reduce fire risk and address blight. These programs originated through OPA’s performance management work and with ad-hoc requests from departments. As the city’s data capacity matured and OPA completed more successful projects, director Oliver Wise sought systematic ways that the OPA team could better engage with other city departments at different levels of data literacy….With the help of Richard Todd, a graduate student from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, OPA developed a toolkit for departmental engagement around data.” Read more from Data-Smart City Solutions.

Reflecting on 5 Years of Chi Hack Night

“For the occasion, we invited our members, alumni and past presenters to share how Chi Hack Night and its community has affected or benefited them.” Read more from Chi Hack Night.

Secret Hospital Inspections May Become Public at Last

“The public could soon get a look at confidential reports about errors, mishaps and mix-ups in the nation’s hospitals that put patients’ health and safety at risk, under a groundbreaking proposal from federal health officials. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services wants to require that private health care accreditors publicly detail problems they find during inspections of hospitals and other medical facilities, as well as the steps being taken to fix them. Nearly nine in 10 hospitals are directly overseen by those accreditors, not the government.” Read more from Pro Publica.

How Government’s Data Can Be Truly Useable

In honor of the recent Open Data Day, here’s what might seem a counterintuitive suggestion: Let’s stop celebrating open data.…We’ve moved beyond the need to celebrate it as special. Rather, we should regard it as a minimum and core requirement of government. What the movement should be pushing for instead is useable data, and we’re seeing considerable progress on that front. Read more from Governing.

‘Business as Usual Can Be the Riskiest Procurement Approach’

“Data can be crucial for pinpointing the specific needs of a population, shedding light on whether existing services are meeting those needs, and devising strategies for improving services. But to create positive feedback loops in which citizens reward city officials who use data to improve services, cities need to communicate how data-informed programmatic changes tie to individual lives.” Read more from Route Fifty.

What Losing Access to Federal Data Could Mean for Researchers and Advocates

“Data increasingly drives the ways both citizens and governments make decisions. The term “data-driven policy” has found champions across multiple sectors because it is seen by advocates as a more immediate, responsive way to govern and engage citizens. But the introduction of two bills threatens to change that. Two bills pending in Congress, S.103 and H.R. 482, have sparked a flurry of activity from librarians, scientists, students, archivists, programmers and technologists who fear that data previously available from the federal government might be lost.” Read more from Government Technology.

Where Are Your Erie County Tax Dollars Going?

“Keeping track of how Erie County government spends your tax dollars just got a lot easier. Instead of having to pore over hundreds of pages of the county’s annual budget, the public can now use an online tool that better visualizes government spending in detail…. The county purchased the software from the Seattle-based company Socrata, which offers financial reporting and management products for all levels of government.” Read more from GoErie.com.

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