With the shift toward value-based payment and population health improvement, the core data assets and services that health information exchanges (HIEs) have cultivated are in greater demand and can be leveraged effectively by sectors other than health care to improve health outcomes. These sectors, such as public health, human services, and housing, are both driving and supporting HIEs to share data with a wider set of partners and integrate additional data sources beyond those from health care.
When public health practitioners and their community partners have access to timely, frequent, and local data, it can have a transformative impact on their ability to develop effective interventions. Data from electronic health records (EHRs) holds significant potential for public health surveillance, but the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is often considered a major impediment to obtaining data from hospitals and health care systems.
Systematically analyzing data from multiple sectors can help illuminate the many factors that influence health locally, serving as catalyst for community partners to take action to improve health and equity. Data Across Sectors for Health (DASH) and County Health Rankings & Roadmaps co-hosted a webinar to provide tools and case studies for communities in the earlier stages of data sharing across sectors.
Meaningful engagement of community members is often a desired goal of multi-sector collaborations working to improve community health, though in reality, this can be very difficult to achieve. A recent All In: Data for Community Health webinar featured presenters from two communities—Seattle, WA and Garrett County, MD—who developed innovative processes to engage residents in providing valuable data to inform community health improvement planning.
A recent All In: Data for Community Health webinar featured multi-sector collaborations in Houston and Dallas, led by partnerships between health systems and local food banks. Together these efforts are demonstrating how addressing food security can have benefits for the healthcare sector and the community as a whole. By forming community partnerships and data systems linking social service providers, food banks, hospitals/health systems, and other sectors, these projects are fostering environments that improve food access and ultimately lead to better health outcomes and lower costs.
A recent All In: Data for Community Health webinar featured two projects led by public health departments in Chicago and Baltimore. These health departments, in collaboration with researchers and community partners, are using methods like predictive analytics and hotspotting to target resources more efficiently and working to create a culture of innovation by using data-driven approaches to examine community health trends at the local level.
2017 was a big year for All In: Data for Community Health. We held our first national meeting in Denver, bringing together 250+ stakeholders to discuss strategies for improving population health through multi-sector data sharing. Two new partners joined All In, helping to expand the learning collaborative to include 60+ projects across the country. Together, we hosted several webinars, a regional meeting on health and housing, and developed new resources to document and share lessons from early innovators.
Thanks to everyone who was willing to go “All In” with us this year! We’ve summarized some of our top resources from 2017 that can help inform your work as you move forward.
Increasingly, the public health sector is tapping into the same big data and analytics frameworks used by commercial and clinical organizations and applying them to address a multitude of community health challenges. A recent All In project showcase webinar shared two examples of collaborations led by researchers and public health departments that are at the forefront of the movement to leverage big data to drive community health improvement.
To provide coordinated care that meets patients’ needs, many networks and communities are developing information systems to share data across clinical and social service settings. In order for these systems to be effective in connecting patients to the right services at the right time, care teams need access to relevant individual-level data that is seamlessly incorporated into their work process.
By Alison Rein, Senior Director for Evidence Generation and Translation at AcademyHealth
The movement to build health into the fabric of our communities is taking hold and stimulating the formation of many local collaborations focused on understanding and addressing the social, environmental and other factors that drive individual and population health. As they navigate these new relationships and work toward building a shared data infrastructure to support ongoing improvement and impact assessment, these local collaboratives must overcome a number of hurdles—some technical and legal—but many more related to process and culture change. Fortunately for those in the early stages, many early population health improvement pioneers have made progress and have useful insights and lessons to share.