How CDT Views Data Analytics

By Published On: May 6, 2021

During TechCA’s Spring Symposium, held on April 28, the subject of data analytics emerged as an answer to some of the issues faced during the vaccination process of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Deputy State CIO Russ Nichols said that predictive analytics could answer some of the simplest, yet most pressing questions posed in the last several months: where to place vaccination clinics, how to staff the clinics, how many people were vaccinated on any given day.

The primary challenge is compiling the data even before it gets analyzed. 

Presently, the state uses three immunization registries that work independently of each other, cutting the total data into fractions yet to be made whole. 

State Chief Technology Innovation Officer Rick Klau noted that the issue of disparate legacy systems leads to vaccine reporting that isn’t as precise as it should be. 

“There is no central repository in which all of this information is uniquely keyed, and attributed,” Klau said. “So the goal of precision is nice. But what you’re often working with is best efforts to get to a best-case scenario.”

Data, by itself, is raw material that can be put to good use—or repackaged to serve more malicious purposes that violate ethics and privacy. 

“We have to build a public confidence that we as government are not doing that.” Nichols said. “And that just takes time and demonstration and small steps moving forward.”

The small steps include securing that data, keeping it safe from manipulation, and relying on humanistic decision-making processes even with a wealth of artificial intelligence available to drive decisions.

It’s one matter to compile and protect the data, it’s another matter finding experts capable of putting it to use.

Another avenue in exploring data analytics and keeping a strong pipeline of data practitioners in waiting could include strengthening the relationship between the state and its universities.

“That’s another opportunity to really partner with them so that they know that that’s the demand in the future,” CDT CTO Bailey-Crimmins said. “Making sure that they are building the data scientists of tomorrow that want to serve the public.”

About the Author: Will Keys

Will Keys writes about technology issues for the GovReport. He is a graduate of the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno. He can be reached at will at govreport.org