It’s always a pleasure for me to spread the word about important initiatives in our world – and even more so when I have the privilege to be involved in one. That’s the case with an ambitious new effort announced yesterday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, titled “Data for Health.” Its goal is to “explore how information and data on health can be harnessed to help people lead healthier lives,” largely through a “listening tour” of five U.S. cities in early 2015. I’m honored (and, honest, humbled given the company I’m in) to be on the advisory committee for this initiative; to read the Foundation’s press release for more details, click here.
All in all, the last few months have been a particularly busy time – in a very good way –for the Stewards of Change Institute (SOCI). We are continuing to build the Institute into a national “think and act” tank that regularly convenes and learns from the top minds in the field of health and human services. SOCI also develops and disseminates curricula, best practices and other relevant materials; and provides hands-on services, consulting and advocacy to systemically improve interoperability and information-sharing – and, as a direct result, to enhance the wellness and health of everyone in our country.
Next, I’m delighted to let you know about the latest work that we at Stewards have helped to produce: a Confidentiality Toolkit for with the National League of Cities, designed to help local leaders identify how data can be securely shared to improve services, while protecting residents’ privacy; and a comparable product for New York State. The latter publication is already available, and the NLC Toolkit will be introduced in various settings in the coming weeks. These efforts represent progress in promoting change in HHS across our country, something that has been too slow in coming. I was able to make that point, by the way, in a story that recently ran in Politico, headlined “States use IT to integrate Medicaid, other services.” (Summary only, full article is behind pay wall).
Last but absolutely not least, we’re already hard at work designing a very special symposium in recognition of our 10th anniversary. We will hold the event again in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University in mid-2015. We’re very proud of the quality, participation and impact of our symposia, and of all we’ve been able to accomplish during the last decade. There’s much more to come … so please stay tuned.