Data Sharing Projects Improve Care, Coordination in Cities, States

January 14, 2015 in News

Health IT officials in several states and cities have implemented multi-agency data sharing projects to improve decision making and quality outcomes and to better inform the public, Government Technology reports.

State, City Initiatives

For example, Missouri’s “Health Homes” initiative allows the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to capture data and share the information with the Missouri Department of Mental Health and the Missouri Department of Social Services (Stone, Government Technology, 1/9). The project, which launched in 2003, aims to keep health care professionals informed when Medicaid beneficiaries are admitted to emergency departments.

According to state officials, the program has added functionality, which has helped reduce:

  • Hospital admissions by 20% among Medicaid beneficiaries; and
  • ED visits by 12% among Medicaid beneficiaries, which is projected to save about $8 million annually (iHealthBeat, 10/7/14).

Other examples of local data sharing projects include:

  • Indiana’s initiative to combat infant mortality, which culls data from the state’s Departments of Corrections and Revenue, Family and Social Services Administration and Workforce Development to assist case workers with resource allocation;
  • The Illinois Framework project, which encourages data sharing between 60 programs across nine state health and human services agencies; and
  • The San Francisco Indicator Project, which gathers about 100 data points from several agencies, including data on multiple access and quality measures such as hospital beds, prenatal care and preventable hospital admissions.


According to Government Technology, these efforts have had to address several procedural and technical challenges, including:

  • A lack of clear understanding of federal, state or city privacy regulations;
  • Complying with privacy rules, including HIPAA’s prohibition on the use of some types of de-identified data;
  • Creating shared links between sources of data, such as standardizing metadata coding;
  • Data conversion and transmission issues, such as in Missouri, where ED data are being emailed each morning to Medicaid providers in the absence of an automated system;
  • Data platforms and regulatory systems potentially requiring legislative action to implement, as was the case in Illinois;
  • The need for managerial and administrative attention and effort;
  • The need for physical IT upgrades, as was the case in Indiana; and
  • Resource constraints and procurement issues (Government Technology, 1/9).
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