ITUP Panel: Going Above and Beyond with Community Health Data Exchange

Exchanging health data at the local level is essential for health care reform, a panel of experts shared at the 27th Annual Insure the Uninsured (ITUP) Conference in Sacramento on February 7.

Moderated by Connecting for Better Health (C4BH) leader Timi Leslie, the panel titled “Going Above and Beyond with Community Health Data Exchange,” featured John Ohanian, chief data officer and director of the California Health and Human Services (CalHHS) Center for Data Insights and Innovation (CDII), and Dan Chavez, executive director of Serving Communities Health Information Organization (formerly Santa Cruz HIO).

Leslie opened the panel with an overview about community data exchange and a roadmap to successful community-centered data sharing. She pointed to recent workshops sponsored by C4BH and ITUP where representatives from social service organizations serving individuals experiencing homelessness and older adults spoke to the challenges faced in accessing data needed to support their communities. 

These workshops also highlighted the concept of “trauma-informed data sharing,” said Leslie.

“It just really struck me that we talked about having trauma-informed care, but when you’re…going through a crisis, and then you move to the next door or across the street…you have to describe that same crisis again and again and again in order to get the services that you need,” she said.

Ohanian provided an overview of the Data Exchange Framework (DxF), the first-ever statewide data sharing agreement for California. He also discussed a timeline for DxF adoption and the new DxF seal

“The DxF is a utility,” Ohanian said. It’s a utility that will support the success of the state’s major reform initiatives, such as California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (CalAIM), the five-year transformation of the state’s Medicaid program that is currently underway, he explained. 

The DxF is inextricably linked to CalAIM, Ohanian and Chavez agreed. 

For background, because CalAIM requires health plans to partner with local agencies and community-based organizations to support the whole person, a whole-person view must be available to providers that encompasses social service and health information at the community level.

“The counties and managed care organizations are key to successful data sharing,” said Chavez. “They will bring along the community-based organizations.”

In addition, Chavez and Leslie highlighted the importance of partnering with the Women, Infants, and Children program (WIC) because of the medical and social components interwoven in supporting new mothers and their young children. 

Ohanian concluded the panel with a look at what’s next for the DxF: “enforcement and governance,” he shared, noting that the state will stay engaged. Ohanian also affirmed the desire to support organizations along the way, and ensure that the DxF is seen as a meaningful solution. 

“When we look at potential investment, when we look at other levers that we can pull where counties are getting funding or not getting funding…we need to tee up the problem and the solution so crystal clear that people go ‘oh, this is what we need to do here,’” said Ohanian. 


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