Grant Program to Support State Role in Multi-Sector Data Sharing

Oct. 21, 2020
Learning and Action in Policy and Partnerships program to provide five awardees with $100,000 each to build relationships among community, state partners

As communities work to coordinate efforts across healthcare providers and social services sectors, a new initiative has been created to strengthen and leverage relationships with state agencies in support of data-sharing efforts.

The Learning and Action in Policy and Partnerships (LAPP) program will enable communities to bolster state partnerships to better inform inclusive policy and systems alignment at both the community and state level. With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), Data Across Sectors for Health (DASH) in partnership with the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) will provide five awardees with $100,000 each to: (a) engage partners to advance existing data-sharing or data-integration efforts; (b) systematically share data across sectors (e.g., social services, public health, and healthcare); and (c) build relationships among community and state partners to inform decision-making and strengthen systems that support community goals for improved health, well-being and equity.

In a blog post, Amy Hoffmaster and Alissa Beers of the Center for Health Care Strategies and Amanda Cavanagh of Data Across Sectors for Health at the Illinois Public Health Institute described the new program. They noted that in creating the program design, DASH and CHCS conducted interviews with stakeholders to better understand priorities in the context of COVID-19, an economic recession, and rising calls for racial justice.

They found that state governments and communities are interested in standardizing COVID-19 testing and tracing data across multiple partners’ systems, with uniform guidance on what is collected and how it is shared to facilitate exchange. Additionally, COVID-19 has presented greater recognition of the importance of capturing race and ethnicity data for public health emergencies and beyond in order to identify and address disparities at a targeted, local-level.

DASH and CHCS note that state policymakers have tools and “levers” at their disposal to support multi-sector data-sharing efforts to improve health. Examples include:

• Data access: Community-level data can drive integration and inform state policy, and states may have data that is needed by communities. 

• Policy and legal clarity: States can clarify and amend as warranted the regulations that govern how and what data can be shared.

• Shared services and systems: States may develop or purchase systems that can be made available to communities (e.g., health information exchanges, social services referral platforms). 

• Interoperability rules: Communities and states may play a role in developing standards or guidance to ensure data can be linked across sectors. 

• Financing: States can change how services are paid for and what metrics need to be captured to align incentives and accountability; and support communities’ sustainable infrastructure development. 

• Managed care organization contracting: States can integrate language into managed care organization contracts that encourage collaboration with communities (e.g., social services referrals).

These interviews also found that success factors for mobilizing multi-sector data-sharing efforts among community and state partners almost always include competencies in:

• Committed and engaged leadership across partners;
• Clear, equitable data governance competencies and infrastructure;
• Partnership/stakeholder engagement that supports shared understanding, trust, and accountability.

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