HHS Updates Open Government Plan


The Department of Health and Human Services has released an updated version of its Open Government Plan. This is the fourth version of the Department’s Open Government Plan, which is updated as HHS makes progress toward its goals or identifies new needs.

The updated plan calls for new legislation and a better response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. As part of that effort, HHS will be supporting the Open Payments Initiative and working to improve transparency in the reporting of financial data for information technology programs.

In version three of the Open Government Plan, HHS implemented seven cross-cutting flagship initiatives focused on transparency and new medicinal technologies. According to the progress report included in version four, HHS has dedicated funding, people and other resources toward improving data transparency at all levels of the Department and improved automation of certain tasks. “The efforts over the last two years have transitioned from the initial efforts of data liberation toward enhanced usability and improvements in health and health care,” plan authors write.

Other flagship programs like the Precision Medicine Initiative have also made progress. Groups within HHS are examining policy initiatives to enable precision medical care.

HHS has also noted a number of timelines for further transparency improvements. Over the next three years, the National Institutes of Health plans to develop and implement a new data management and sharing policy that will apply to all NIH-funded research, regardless of funding level. The Department is also on track to will meet the directive for all paper and non-electronic records to be identified and to create and submit record schedules to the National Archives by December 31, 2016.

In terms of its FOIA response plan, HHS says that beginning with the data reported as of the end of January 2017, the Department will publish open and pending FOIA requests on the HHS FOIA website with the goal of improving response times.

The full open government plan is available here.