2019 State Standard of Excellence
4. Data Policies / Agreements
Did the state or any of its agencies have data sharing policies and data sharing agreements—consistent with strong privacy protections—with any nonprofit organizations, academic institutions, local government agencies, and/or federal government agencies which were designed to improve outcomes for publicly funded programs, and did it make those policies and agreements publicly available? (Example: data sharing policy, open data policy)
Why is this important?
Data sharing policies and agreements allow state governments to take a coordinated approach to identifying and using relevant data to improve programs while implementing strong privacy protections.
The Washington Education Research and Data Center has a memorandum of understanding which identifies how data will be collected and shared among partners with a strong focus on protecting individual privacy. The Center brings together eleven partners, including state workforce, education, and child welfare agencies, to compile education and workforce data to improve student achievement and workforce outcomes.
The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services maintains an Integrated Client Database with data from 10 state agencies, 40 separate data systems, and 2.4 million individuals. This data is used for rapid-cycle policy analysis, program evaluation, predictive modeling, and performance measurement to help agencies understand how health and other factors are related to outcomes for persons served by public assistance programs. The database has been used by the state’s Health Home Program, which provides intensive care management services to high-risk Medicaid beneficiaries, to improve beneficiary health outcomes and lower costs. These lower costs have included over $20 million in savings to the state as well as tens of millions in dollars in shared savings payments from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which has evaluated the program and encouraged other states to consider developing similar programs.
In 2019, Arizona’s Department of Administration implemented an enterprise data sharing memorandum of understanding (eMOU), which has been signed by 28 state agencies. The eMOU sets forth governance standards for data sharing according to the statewide data policy and has a presumption of data sharing between agencies, unless specifically prohibited by law.
California’s statewide Open Data Policy encourages departments to share data in standard and accessible formats through the California Open Data Portal. As outlined in the California Open Data Handbook, the state’s open efforts are designed to improve collaboration, expand transparency, encourage innovation, and increase effectiveness. In addition, the state hosts CalData, a professional network for government officials and partners to promote the best uses of open data.
In 2019, the Colorado Governor’s Office and the Colorado Evaluation and Action Lab co-designed the Linked Information Network of Colorado (LINC) to facilitate data sharing for research and analytics purposes as a way to improve state policies and programs. LINC includes data from the Departments of Health Care Policy and Financing, Higher Education, Human Services, Labor and Employment, and Public Health and Environment. LINC has a three-tier legal structure which includes: (1) an enterprise memorandum of understanding (eMOU) signed by all data providers; (2) data sharing agreements to secure, handle, and anonymize data for all LINC projects; and (3) data licenses with roles and responsibilities for users of LINC project data.
A 2018 Connecticut law formalized the Chief Data Officer position, required the creation of an open data portal, and mandated the creation of a state data plan to be updated biannually. The state data plan seeks to create a consistent approach to data stewardship; improves data integration across the state; and ensures that data are leveraged as a strategic asset. The plan also contains 11 principles and accompanying practices that all agencies should adopt in order to improve their management, use, sharing, and analysis of data.
The Illinois enterprise memorandum of understanding (eMOU) established a framework for data sharing among state health and human services agencies. The eMOU, which has been integrated into the state’s Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) plan for linking wage data, has been signed by 22 agencies and is designed to help these agencies have reliable data for decision-makers.
The Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS) collects and links high-quality, actionable data from five state agencies in order to improve education and workforce programs in the state. KYSTATS has a data request hub which includes a data access and use policy and a data sharing agreement for information exchange among state agencies.
In 2019, Maryland unveiled an updated open data portal with an expanded catalog of data covering education, health, criminal justice, child welfare, workforce, and economic opportunity. The state’s Council on Open Data governs the portal and meets on a quarterly basis to coordinate, plan, and promote Maryland’s open data. The Council publishes its agenda and minutes.
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Researcher’s Guide to Massachusetts State Education Data contains data sharing information about “what data is available, how to obtain and interpret it, and, ultimately, [how] to generate better research projects and more accurate and useful results” for improving student outcomes in the state. The guide has links to data sets such as aggregate data at the school and district levels as well as information on confidential student-level data, non-confidential student-level data, and educator data. The Department also has a data sharing memorandum of understanding template and an approval process that ensures the confidentiality of student-level data.
New Jersey partners with Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, to operate the New Jersey Education to Earnings Data System (NJEEDS), which uses a data sharing agreement to link data from the Departments of Education and Labor, the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, and the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority.
In April 2019, Ohio’s Governor signed Executive Order 2019-15D consolidating state data systems into the InnovateOhio Platform, which uses data as “a shared strategic asset” whose “value is multiplied when data sets are linked across programs and organizations.” The executive order created a presumption of data sharing between state agencies, except where a specific legal prohibition is identified in writing.
In 2017, Ohio’s State Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Plan highlighted its efforts to share and link data, recognizing that “evaluation and research projects on activities under the WIOA core programs first requires access to relevant data.” Specifically, Ohio leveraged a grant from the Workforce Data Quality Initiative and the creation of the Ohio Longitudinal Data Archive to support “policy analysis, research and program transparency (dashboards).” To facilitate access to the data for research purposes, Ohio Analytics has a guide with policies and procedures for using and accessing administrative data.
The Texas Education Agency administers the Texas Student Data System, a statewide platform for collecting, managing, sharing, and reporting state education data. The system has a dashboard, data standards, and data governance process. Additionally, the Workforce Information System of Texas (TWIST) links data across workforce funding streams for intake, eligibility determination, and reporting on programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Employment and Training, and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.