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State health departments face government barriers to interoperability, report says

May 16, 2018 / Paige Minemyer

State health departments can harness data analytics to inform policy and improve outcomes for large populations—but there are a number of hurdles to fully taking advantage of the technology, according to a new report. Researchers at Leavitt Partners interviewed officials at state health departments in Utah, Oklahoma, Washington, Colorado, and Idaho to gather a cross-section of states at different points in the journey to a robust and interoperable analytics program. Through those interviews, the authors were able to identify several pain points for health officials looking to expand their abilities to gather and use data. In particular, governance and legal challenges, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), pose a significant barrier to data sharing for these agencies.