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The ReImagine Data Insights Initiative at Work: Employment for Individuals with Disabilities

Unifi is here to help deliver a better understanding of the location and distribution of working-age individuals with disabilities and their workforce participation status in the U.S.

Data Insights Initiative Powered by UnifiThe ReImagine Data Insights Initiative (RDi2) is partnering with several federal agencies to gain crucial feedback that will help shape the development of Unifi, a new data sharing solution at HHS. Unifi is designed to improve how agencies within HHS, and beyond, share, integrate, analyze, and visualize federated data to better inform policymaking and support evidence-based decision-making. This cloud-based, open source platform includes an intuitive workflow management system for data access and dispositioning data use agreements (DUAs). To achieve this user-centered interface design and simple workflow, we built it through use cases with leaders across HHS. In this blog, we highlight an important use case.

What are Use Cases and Use Case Workgroups?

In this context, use cases are descriptions of how HHS will use Unifi to achieve a real-life goal. Use cases can consist of defining the problem, determining research questions the data must answer, identifying public and restricted data sets, and defining what outcomes are expected. Use case workgroups consist of diverse stakeholder groups who help define the use case and provide subject matter and technical expertise throughout the design and testing process. Through focused feedback and platform testing sessions, the use case workgroups bring together data analysts, stewards, and users to derive new insights and ensure proper data sharing.

Use Case Spotlight: Administration for Community Living

One of our primary use cases focuses on addressing employment challenges for individuals with disabilities. In 2018, ACL established a multi-agency task force for increasing employment opportunities for people with disabilities, which includes 11 federal agencies. This use case is providing ACL and its partners with a better understanding of the location and distribution of working-age individuals with disabilities and their workforce participation status in the U.S. It gives particular attention to the location and distribution of individuals with disabilities who have a substance use and or mental health disorder and allows for other population characteristics such as barriers to workforce participation, and access to services and resources, to be identified as appropriate.

Partnerships like the one with ACL ultimately help demonstrate how information shared across agencies within HHS can both inform and improve the impact of our programs and initiatives. ACL leadership supports RDi2’ and are actively engaged:

“Our initial reviews with the RDi2 team have already shown great promise in understanding more about the issues we are trying to resolve, through the lens of shared data. It is exciting to forecast what may be possible when federal agencies share data that can help to dramatically improve the lives of Americans.  It is overwhelming to think about the possibilities when data is shared across federal departments!” - Mary Lazare, Principal Deputy Administrator, ACL

Unifi will improve data collaboration throughout HHS and its agencies and make data discoverable for those who need it.

If you are interested in learning more about Unifi and use cases, please email the team at unifi@hhs.gov.

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Health IT