The California Health and Human Services Agency has launched its Open Data Portal ( to make access to non-confidential data collected by CHHS departments user-friendly.

The Open Data Portal’s goals are to spark innovation, promote research and economic opportunities, engage public participation in government, increase transparency and inform decision-making. “Open Data” describes data freely available, machine-readable and formatted according to national technical standards to facilitate visibility and reuse of published data by individuals, business, researchers, journalists, developers and others.

“Transparency and accessibility to information is so important to democracy,” Diana S. Dooley, secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, said in a press release. “This is the beginning of a very ambitious effort to open information portals that people want and need. This is an important step toward our goal of making California the healthiest state.”

The California Department of Public Health and the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development are the first departments to contribute data to the CHHS portal with other departments to follow. Participating departments will continue to add more data sets over time.

Data sets initially available include birth profiles, poverty rates, reports on asthma and West Nile virus, Health Professions Shortage Areas, utilization of specific medical procedures and hospital seismic compliance.