New CHHS unit seeks to leverage people-related data across the state

Published On: February 8, 2021

With a mission to deliver health and human services, the state’s largest agency has created a new unit to use its vast amount of data with more efficiency and sophistication.   

The Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS) is proposing to fund a new program called the Center for Data Insights and Innovations (CDII), according to a budget change proposal (BCP) submitted to the Legislature on Jan. 10.

In a blog post announcing the establishment of the CDII, Director John Ohanion said that one of the department’s key principles is to “put the person back in person-centered” and to “see the whole person.” 

The purpose of establishing CDII is to leverage data in a way that improves program delivery through four main objectives: institutionalizing and leveraging analytics, using in-house data intelligence to cut outsourcing costs, optimizing department success, and serving as a model for analytical excellence.

CHHS argues in the BCP that data has not yet been fully utilized in an agency that affects the public health and welfare of all Californians, and more robust use of data and analytics within CDII would allow the agency to increase efficiency and optimize the use of resources, reach underserved populations, and address socioeconomic health disparities. 

“Together, we must act as one government, breaking down silos and building a culture that focuses on delivering services that are person-centered and not program-centered,” Ohanion continued.

The role of data is key in shaping policy and the COVID-19 response, according to the post.  Data from the Department of Public Health and the Department of Health Care Services was utilized to identify COVID-19 risk factors along with demographic, socioeconomic, and geographic lines.

According to the BCP, CDII will be cost-neutral, redirecting positions and funding within CHHS, California’s largest agency.


Image by Alexander Sinn on Unsplash


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