HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) – Since the start of the pandemic, the state has been widely criticized over its lack of transparency, but experts say officials are getting better at sharing information and data with the public.
The Honolulu Civil Beat recently spoke with data and health experts who shared that perspective but also said the state could still be more forthcoming and transparent.
Some of the deficiencies included the wrong staffing and antiquated systems, one expert said, adding that the state Department of Health had been unwilling to share certain data and cooperate with other organizations on several occasions.
“This pandemic just shows you the historic deficiencies in the system,” University of Hawaii professor and health economist Victoria Fan told the Civil Beat.
However, experts are crediting the improvements to the new leadership at the DOH.
One effective way that information is being distributed, they said, is through the Hawaii COVID-19 dashboard. Through the dashboard, policymakers and industry leaders are looking at data to forecast trends and make key decisions.
“It’s a huge shift from DOH saying we’re not going to give you any data to here, we want you to build this dashboard,” Fan said.
But some said the dashboard is still missing important data and are pushing for even more information. Although the pandemic has shown that there are many reforms needed to strengthen the state’s response, experts said they are cautiously that the new leadership can change things for the better.
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