Urban Strategies Council, First Five Alameda County and Eden I&R (the provider of 2-1-1 services in Alameda County) recently agreed to jointly build the first ever Health and Human Services Data Portal in California.

The Data Portal will increase accessibility to Health and Human Services Information resources that can be utilized by the public as well as technologists who can use the information to generate new apps and tools for the residents of Alameda County. For example, an app can be designed to provide information to crime victims or single mothers to help them find the specific services they likely need. The same benefit applies for county agencies or researchers trying to plan for gaps in current services- better data and better policies.

What is a data portal?

This new data portal will be a one-stop place for developers and agencies with a need for health and human services data to find what they are looking for. Long term, this will be a live stream of service and referral information that is updated daily, ensuring that anyone trying to find services will have the most up to date information possible.  For example, a hospital looking to provide social service referrals could use the portal to get the most up-to-date information on services available to their patients. According to Urban Strategies Council’s research director Steve Spiker “this new resource will end a massive amount of duplicated effort across county agencies and will allow for innovations that help families find the best services for their situation.”

Who is involved?

One of the early supporters of this effort is Code for America who has developed some of the technology that makes this pilot possible. The project is also supported by Alameda County Healthcare Services Agency.

One of the immediate by-products of this collaboration will be the direct benefit of improved data in each of the printed resource lists that local service organizations generate each year in Alameda County. According to Eden I&R’s Executive Director Barbara Bernstein, “As the most reliable source for health and human services information in Alameda County, Eden I&R is excited about the potential opportunity to further serve the citizens of Alameda County in new ways.    We are looking forward to expanding the positive impact that our 2-1-1 service provides through the Health & Human Services Data Portal.”

When will this be completed?

Work has begun on the first phase of the pilot, and the initial goal is to have the portal live by June 30, 2015. From there we hope to have a sustainability plan in place for a live system with real-time data, available to a number of organizations by January 2016.