Recommendation 5

A “new compact” between Congress and the department is essential as HHS works toward achieving its vision for a healthy nation, departmental mission, and key health goals. Under this compact, the secretary would provide Congress and the nation regular, rigorous reports about departmental activities and assume greater accountability for improving performance and obtaining results; in return, Congress should allow the department greater flexibility in its internal operations and decision making.

  1. To enable greater accountability, the secretary should oversee development and implementation of a department-wide data, evaluation, and information system. The system should be based on a broad analytic framework designed to aid in managing departmental operations, learning from program experience, evaluating the costs and impact of programs, and determining whether they provide sufficient value for the investment of public funds.

  2. Congress should authorize the secretary to direct funding from the budgets of all departmental units to support the development of an HHS-wide information system. Funding for such a system would benefit all department units.

  3. The department should use the data, evaluation, and information system to

    • enable the secretary to provide Congress with regular reports on progress toward achieving departmental goals,

    • inform policy development,

    • facilitate cross-department activities,

    • provide operational information to program management for quality improvement and midcourse corrections, and

    • support effective long-range planning.

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