By Greg Fischer
I come to public service from the private sector. As a business owner, I trusted data to help me understand my companies – to figure out how to be closer to the customer, improve services, and dispense with waste.
When I became Mayor of Louisville, Kentucky – the17th largest city in theUnited States – I was determined that we would use data to improve the lives of all Louisvillians.
We are using “Big Data” to improve public health, specifically for our citizens who have asthma. InLouisville, 15 percent of our citizens have asthma – slightly higher than the state or national average. Asthma is the third most common cause of hospital stays for children. It causes expensive emergency room visits, lost time from work and school, and a diminished quality of life for the people of our city.
Louisville’s location in the Ohio River Valley – where neither natural allergens nor manmade pollutants dissipate easily from our air – does not help us.
During a three-week period this summer, five IBM experts worked in Louisville to help us better identify the data sources – not just from within Metro Government, but from all public sources – that would enable us to get a firm grip on this public health issue. Louisville is quickly becoming a leader in using government data. Our online dashboard, LouieStat, allows citizens access to the same data our internal performance improvements experts use, for example, to understand how current overtime practices are strangling our budget.
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