Governors Association Works with Eight States to Improve Health Data Sharing

Eight states are in the early stages of a collaboration with the National Governors Association that could enhance their ability to use and share health-care data enterprise-wide, ultimately improving operations and services to residents.

On June 13, NGA, which works with governors on public policy and governance issues, announced a health policy partnership around data best practices with the states of Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Vermont and Washington. The 16-month initiative, which is called “Harnessing the Power of Data to Achieve State Policy Goals: The Foundation for State Success in Improving Quality and Reducing Costs,” is still formative; and while state officials have connected via telephone, their first of two convenings won’t take place until October.

Already, however, health-care officials around the nation are looking in earnest at areas in their governments where existing laws and procedures could do more to enable a fuller and better use of the countless health-care data streams they collect and maintain. The initiative may last less than two years, but state and NGA officials said they expect it to have a lasting impact that could even extend beyond health care.

Hemi Tewarson, health division director for NGA’s Center for Best Practices, said it has contemplated how to assist states in improving their data systems for years, raising value while reducing costs — and simultaneously “addressing the whole person” and understanding how residents’ health issues may drive how they use health care. The states selected differ in size and makeup, but share a desire to focus on “cross-sector data sharing,” linking intra-state data systems more effectively and building the governance to make that happen. (Read more…)