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Sharing Health Data

posted on Sun, Jan 1 2012 12:00 am by Western Region

The Network recently responded to a request from a local health official on policies for sharing health data. The requestor hoped to identify best practices for sharing data that has been collected, analyzed or reported by a health department. He also asked whether all data collected or reported by a health department is considered part of the public domain and whether model agreements and policies exist for sharing data collected by or for public and private entities.

The Network held a teleconference with the requestor to further discuss his questions. After clarifying the requestor’s concerns, several regions of the Network coordinated to compile examples of data sharing agreements and policies from several different states and of varied jurisdictional levels. The Network’s final response to the requestor included background information on the distinction between public records requests and inter-jurisdictional data sharing. The Network provided several documents to inform this discussion, including a Network memorandum that addresses disclosure of public health data pursuant to public records requests in Arizona and an example of an inter-jurisdictional data sharing agreement from the Great Lakes Border Health Initiative in Michigan.

Finally, the Network provided examples of a range of data sharing agreements and policies that would regulate the disclosure of public health data from the health department to third parties. Among the examples were a public records request form from the Arizona Department of Health and a Data Request Form and Vital Statistics Data Access Agreement from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. Several model data sharing policies were also provided, including the Arizona Department of Health Services’ policy on release of trauma registry data and an information notice on the use of data from San Diego County.

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