NYC Health and Hospitals’ data office focuses not on providing capabilities to customers, but on delivering services.
As the chief data officer at New York City’s NYC Health and Hospitals, the largest public health system in the United States, Alexander Izaguirre has stopped focusing on IT and data capabilities. Instead, he and his team pay attention to what their customers – 43,000 employees at 11 hospitals and 70 patient care facilities – say their pain points are and then work to address them with technology.
For instance, the facilities track the number of patients who leave before being seen, but each used to take a different approach.
“They would be fearful every month to see that indicator being reported because they would say, ‘They’re defining it differently over there and we look like when we don't know what we're doing, but we’re defining it correctly,’” Izaguirre said. “At first, I had my engineering hat, and I was like, ‘We could fix this by setting up governance,’ but that’s not listening for pain.”
He had conversations with the stakeholders and learned that they’re worried about their numbers looking bad because they could be perceived as incompetent and put their job at risk. The resulting solution is a new model that involves creating personas of the stakeholders in need of support, using data champions to determine how the information can help and then providing the data to consumers who “don’t care how the sausage is made. They just want to get access to the resource,” Izaguirre said.
For the model, NYC Health and Hospitals is using a cloud technology stack made up of Informatica, Snowflake, Tableau Software and SAS Viya to provide not capabilities, but service to customers.
The agency set up data pipelines and relies heavily on Informatica to migrate information to a data platform environment that Snowflake provides.
“There, what we do is we stage that data into an environment we call ‘raw.’ Some people call it data lakes, some people call it staging,” he said. “That environment is basically the data that came from the original systems with some minor cleanup done through ETL process, and from there, we actually go through a secondary cleanup to make it better data. And that repository is called ‘curated.’”
From that layer, all the data comes together into another layer called the model – the enterprise data warehouse. Next is the service delivery layer, NYC Health and Hospitals’ analytics center of excellence. Three core groups – financial sustainability, clinical excellence and corporate reporting – are involved in that. Leaders of those groups prioritize needs and requirements and create teams to work with the data platform to get the data they need to create the right solution. Some consumers, for example, want data (raw spreadsheets, for instance) and others want a dashboard (a data solution).
“Everybody thinks, ‘I want the best data,’ but that’s not necessarily what you need, depending on what you’re doing,” Izaguirre said. Knowing the context of how the data will be used “really gives us a better perspective of what we can give you, how fast and at what level of integrity.”
NYC Health and Hospitals also has a self-service website where customers can go to increase their data literacy. To get to that point, the organization had to first come up with common definitions of data and data governance, he said. It uses Informatica to create data catalogs and dictionaries that are displayed on that internal website.
“The big value proposition that is very quickly being realized is democratization of data [and] velocity of data,” Izaguirre said. “We’re getting data to people faster, we are limiting the types of bad data.” He groups bad data into five groups: duplicate, conflicting, incomplete, invalid and unsynchronized data.
This month, Informatica announced the availability of the Intelligent Data Management Cloud (IDMC) platform for state and local governments. It centralizes data while making it more accessible and offers three main capabilities. The first is around digital citizen experience. By providing a 360-degree view of citizen information across agencies and departments, users have better access to consistent, trusted information that reduces the risk of data fraud and misuse, company officials said.
Second, because of that complete view of data, IDMC facilitates crisis response and recovery by allowing for better collaboration and real-time analysis. Third, it increases cybersecurity, privacy and compliance. For instance, it supports compliance with the California Consumer Privacy Act and is certified by the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP), Texas FedRAMP and SOC2.
“State and local agencies can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of social program implementation by powering real-time, decision-making with fit-for-purpose data,” Jitesh Ghai, chief product officer at Informatica, said in a press release.
Stephanie Kanowitz is a freelance writer based in northern Virginia.
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