As the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, the focus for state and local government organizations, including public health agencies, is now on building back better. Recently, Future Healthcare Today had the opportunity to speak with Adrienne Greenberg, Account Executive at Snowflake, about how state and local governments are embracing data to better understand and serve their citizens. Greenberg discussed how the Biden administration’s American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 is helping agencies to enable their constituents to lead safer and healthier lives.
Government Technology Insider (GTI): Adrienne, thank you for speaking with us today. Can you tell us about your role at Snowflake?
Adrienne Greenberg (AG): I am an Account Executive at Snowflake. Specifically, I work with state and local governments and higher education in the greater Pacific Northwest to help them identify how they can best leverage their data to drive mission outcomes. Collectively state and local governments spend hundreds of millions of dollars on collecting and storing data, but they have struggled with putting that data to work to improve operations to better serve residents in their community. Snowflake helps them get better access to data with the goal of driving outcomes for safer, happier, healthier communities.
GTI: Why is the American Rescue Plan important for state and local governments?
AG: The American Rescue Plan Act is going to be a game changer for all state and local governments and will empower them to use data to better serve residents. The goal of the Act is to help communities build back better in the aftermath of the pandemic and in light of the social justice issues facing our communities. The mission is not to go back to the status quo, because the status quo didn’t work for everyone. This funding will allow governments to rethink benefit and service delivery. The idea is to determine how we can lift up those people who were disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are many different ways in which the American Rescue Plan is providing direct relief, whether that means programs such as SNAP, which is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or rent relief. Getting citizens direct access to financial assistance is amazing, but for technologists we see an opportunity for state and local governments to really rethink the way they run their operations by using data to better understand which groups of people disproportionately were affected by the pandemic and what programs were most effective.
The key to driving this fundamental change is to use data. While data isn’t the solution to all problems—for example, data doesn’t make sure I can pay my rent every month—data does help identify problems. It helps identify where there are inequities, and it helps us better understand how and who we’re currently servicing. Once we can identify where the problems are, data tells us where to monitor and manage the solutions to make sure the things that we assumed would work really do work and they work for everybody.
GTI: Can you walk us through the American Rescue Plan and tell us why it is important and how Snowflake can help?
AG: Snowflake’s mission is to give governments the capabilities they need to improve mission impact. Snowflake supports data-driven government by giving real-time access to data, enabling leadership to measure program performance, reduce time to insight, and eliminate the need for manual intervention. Snowflake’s near-zero maintenance platform enables frictionless reporting and data sharing between departments to create a holistic understanding of citizen services, all while reducing risk.
For the ARPA funds dedicated to public health, states, cities, and counties can learn from the implementation of Snowflake in the State of California as the state’s COVID-19 data hub. This data hub includes data related to testing results, PPE volumes, hospital bed counts and now, vaccinations. The data hub is giving California’s leadership better access to real-time data, so they can make informed decisions on how best to respond to the pandemic. Leveraging Snowflake Data Marketplace, California Department of Technology (CDT) was able to securely share data with state agencies and departments, county health departments and agencies, and health partners such as hospitals, vaccine providers, and others. CDT was also able to create a state COVID-19 website, an open data portal that the public can access for updates at any time.
School districts will be given funds that are earmarked to be used for better understanding the pandemic’s impact on student success. Snowflake is the underlying data infrastructure for a series of interactive dashboards used by Los Angeles Unified School District to measure attendance, student engagement, and the learning success of its 45,000+ students. By bringing together data from their many siloed systems, the district’s administration is able to get a holistic view of students at the classroom, school, and district level.
GTI: Is there anything else you would like to add?
AG: I think the most important thing about the American Rescue Plan Act is the commitment to the idea that we need to build back more equitably. We can’t understand inequities if we don’t use data to understand the current and historical factors that led us to where we are today and how COVID-19 impacted and exacerbated inequalities across the U.S. This is a real opportunity to use data, think outside the box, and be innovative to modernize programs that have been built on legacy systems with legacy ideas that no longer work for individuals and communities. It’s really amazing to see this commitment from the federal government to build a more equitable and equal society, one where everybody gets what they need to live a prosperous life.