HEALTHCARE CABAL-Bringing government up to data - Abby Phillip and Kim Hart -

For instance, the Government Accountability Office on Monday, found that the Office of Management and Budget’s IT Dashboard — a cornerstone project created by Kundra and Zients one year ago to track the performance of technology contracts across the government — relies on a fair amount of inaccurate data. While the tool increases the transparency of nearly $80 billion in technology contracts, it contains some inconsistencies that leave both federal watchdogs and the public without a complete picture, the GAO found.

Kundra said the OMB has already addressed many of the complaints with its new version of the IT Dashboard, released last week. He also noted the significant progress his office has made in creating an environment conducive to sharing data and holding colleagues accountable for spending.

This month, Zients and Kundra halted $20 billion in projects while eyeing major cuts to others. They also launched a 120-day review of how federal officials manage IT projects, hoping to find more efficient processes.

Zients, Kundra and Chopra have put much of their efforts into making information that often hides on government spreadsheets available to the public, in the hope that software developers can use the raw data to create new online tools to look up crime statistics, pothole repairs and school performance, for example.

But not all government transparency projects have been well received, with critics arguing that the data are not always useful or reliable, and some agencies resent having to turn over data. For example, was supposed to have detailed data on stimulus spending, but the GAO found that the information was out of date and incomplete when the website first launched last year.

Chopra has tried to make accessing information more consumer-friendly, most recently launching, where consumers can find information on nearly every health insurance provider and plan, even though some insurance companies aren’t thrilled to have to turn over such detailed data.

The three men know each other well, having worked together since early in their careers. They often finish each other’s thoughts and exchange sarcastic banter and they have been known to have 3 a.m. phone conversations to hash out the details of a plan or brainstorm a solution to the latest crisis.

During their 10 years together at the Advisory Board Co., Zients successfully led the company’s public offering as its CEO, while Chopra brought his experience on health care to the administration and has since championed top health care priorities like digitizing medical records and implementing a system to create an online market for health insurance coverage.