‘I can still see plenty of opportunities for sharing data’

Since the start of last year, Henk Blindenbach has been serving as the CIO of the Centrum Indicatiestelling Zorg or CIZ (Care Assessment Centre). In this role, he is a member of RINIS’s Bestuurlijk Overleg (Administrative Consultation Committee). ‘In the past, government and healthcare organisations have tended to collect data. This is changing.‘

What did RINIS do for the CIZ?

‘RINIS provides a straightforward and low-threshold platform for the fast exchange of data. In doing so, we do not need to set up links with dozens of different organisations, all of which need to be serviced and maintained. Now, there is just one standard we need to take into account. What is more, a new exchange is quickly set up. We are able to swiftly change gears and take things up a notch with RINIS, which makes for a good working relationship.’

Data sharing is evolving. What would you say is the principal development?

‘In the past, government and healthcare organisations tended to collect data, endeavouring to store all the data they required in their own proprietary systems. This situation is changing. An increasing number of organisations is now opting for ‘registration at source’: data are recorded at one location just the once and are subsequently made available to be consulted from that source.’

'Less digitally skilled people: a group we should not lose sight of'

Do you ever lie awake at night thinking about data sharing?

‘No, but the technical protection of data is an area that demands constant attention. The fact of the matter is that data sharing happens to come with an element of risk. This threat will always exist. The trick is to keep innovating and to stay one step ahead of cyber criminals.’

Can you see opportunities for data sharing that remain untapped?

‘The CIZ is part of the healthcare sector, a sector where I am seeing plenty of opportunities to substantially ramp up joint efforts and data sharing. We also have several projects up and running in this area. These include the sharing of data relating to individual citizens, for instance by way of individual electronic patient records. There is also the collection and analysis of large amounts of anonymised data in order to make predictions or to implement preventive efforts. The overriding principle in all of this is always the privacy of citizens.’

 What are the links between the CIZ and Europe?

‘In a nutshell: we do not operate on a European scale. We focus on clients who live in the Netherlands and receive care in the Netherlands. I don't expect to see this change any time soon.’

'RINIS stands for simplicity and stability'

 What do you wish in terms of e-government?

‘To begin with, I would like to us to continue to innovate and work side by side as one government. An apt example are the standards for messaging data that were developed across the various levels of government. By the same token, I would like us to keep our sights set on our common goal: to relieve and facilitate citizens’ lives, as this is what it is all about in the final analysis. I would also wish for e-government to be mindful of less digitally skilled people: a group we should not lose sight of. This is the overarching principle of all the services provided by the CIZ.’

In conclusion, here is a question from the previous member of the Administrative Consultation Committee we interviewed, UWV (Employee Insurance Agency) chairman Martin van der Lugt: ‘E-government is a changing landscape packed with innovation. This means RINIS will need to continue to develop in order to remain relevant and to provide its participants with the best possible service. Which areas would you say RINIS will need to place greater focus on in times to come?'

‘For now, RINIS is still facilitating a lot of exchanges whereby one participant is seen to retrieve data from another participant. As I was saying, there is a growing need to be able to retrieve data at source. RINIS is in a position to play an important role as a facilitator in this respect. But the most important thing in my opinion is for RINIS to retain its strength. RINIS stands for simplicity and stability. We should keep it that way.’

What question would you like to ask the next incoming member of the Administrative Consultation Committee?

‘There will always be a degree of tension between citizens’ privacy and the need for data sharing in order to improve the delivery of services to citizens. How do we bring these worlds closer together?’

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