2020 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 that 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)
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.
In April 2019, Ohio’s Governor signed an executive order 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” through data integration and management tools. The executive order created a presumption of data-sharing between state agencies, except where a specific legal prohibition is identified in writing. Since its launch, InnovateOhio and the Ohio Department of Administrative Services have collaborated with state agencies to incorporate 1,600 information systems into the State’s cloud environment. As of June 2020, the InnovateOhio Platform recovered over $1 million in duplicate payments by applying a data analytics tool to state agency spending ledgers.
In 2019, Arizona’s Department of Administration implemented an enterprise memorandum of understanding (eMOU) for data sharing, 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 data 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.
Education, Health, Workforce; Statewide Evidence-Building Capacity,) 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. The Network is designed to share data across state agencies and provide de-identified data to perform robust, academically rigorous research to inform policy. 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. In addition, the Colorado Department of Higher Education was the first state agency in the nation to partner on a pilot project with the U.S. Census Bureau to match federal unemployment insurance data with postsecondary degree completion data. At the state and county level, the Colorado Department of Human Services’ C-Stat performance management system facilitates data sharing among its 64 counties by providing dashboards to track key metrics and Performance and Partnerships Exchanges to facilitate sharing of best practices.
A 2018 Connecticut law required each state agency to designate an agency data officer to manage high-value data sets and coordinate data-related activities with the state Chief Data Officer. The Chief Data Officer, along with individual agency data officers, is required to biannually update the state data plan, which covers open data and creates data standards for agencies. The plan also contains 11 principles and accompanying practices that all agencies should adopt to improve their management, use, sharing, and analysis of data. In addition, a 2019 law required a report on the legal issues surrounding interagency data sharing. Based on analysis of 17 state agencies and 224 data sharing agreements, the report recommends: 1) establishing a coordinated governance structure for cross-agency data sharing, and 2) implementing cross-agency data-sharing agreements that are more flexible and durable. Building on this report, Connecticut released a Data-Sharing Playbook in 2020 to help agencies share data safely, securely, and ethically.
The Indiana Data Partnership, launched in 2019, brings together government, nonprofit, and private sector entities to share data, talent, and technology to solve key challenges impacting Indiana residents. The Partnership was formed as an extension of the Indiana Management Performance Hub to create a secure, replicable, and sustainable framework to help partner organizations use shared data in coordinating efforts and maximizing holistic solutions. Initial projects included combating the opioid epidemic, improving education and workforce development, mapping local health delivery, and a networking analysis.
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 mobility. 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, regularly publishing its agenda and minutes. In addition, the Maryland Transparency Portal provides information about the state’s operating budget, state grants, and payments to vendors.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health maintains a Public Health Data Warehouse that leverages public and private partnerships to provide timely, linked, multi-year data to analyze health priorities through data briefs and data digests. The Department also created a COVID-19 Response Reporting hub that publishes data and cumulative reports on Massachusetts COVID-19 cases, testing, and hospitalizations.
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Researcher’s Guide to Massachusetts State Education Data also 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, nonconfidential student-level data, and educator data. The Department’s data-sharing memorandum of understanding template and corresponding approval process reiterates the confidentiality of student-level data.
Michigan’s Enterprise Information Management program established policies and protocols for data sharing, management, and governance. As part of these efforts, Michigan developed a statewide data-sharing agreement template to facilitate improved data sharing among agencies and departments. The Open Michigan Portal houses the state’s open data portal, which includes information about the impact of COVID-19 in the state.
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.
The North Carolina Data Analytics Center serves as the centralized data office for the state. As authorized by law, the Center has developed a data governance program for utilizing standardized memorandums of agreement consistent with strong privacy protections to share data with local, state, and federal agencies. It also coordinates the state’s education longitudinal system, which includes data sharing among the Departments of Education, Labor, Revenue, Health and Human Services, and the state’s university system.
A 2017 Oregon law requires the Chief Data Officer to create an enterprise Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate data sharing across state agencies. This approach has been used for the Statewide Longitudinal Data System, launched in 2018, to bring together education and workforce data, the Sustainable Solutions for Accelerated Learning (SSAL) Work Group, and Trauma-Informed Pilot Project to identify areas of inequities for increased funding. In 2019, the state also partnered with the Oregon Health and Sciences’ University Center for Evidence Based Policy, state agencies, nonprofit leaders, and the state legislature to create the Child Well-Being Dashboard, which uses data from the Oregon Departments of Education, Early Learning, Health and Human Services, and Youth to measure the outcomes of early childhood intervention programs.
In response to the federal COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, Rhode Island’s Department of Labor and Training partnered with the nonprofit Research Improving People’s Lives and Amazon Web Services to develop a cloud-based system to share data and improve management of unemployment claims. This enabled Rhode Island to be among the first states in the nation to provide Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits in the face of record-high employment claims during the COVID-19 crisis.
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 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.
Utah’s Chief Data Officer is using data sharing and a Memorandum of Understanding to support the Blueprint Solution, which is designed to improve service delivery through enhanced case management coordination among state social services agencies. Utah also has an open data catalog supported by the State Open Data Coordinator, a position created by a 2014 law.
In 2020, a Virginia executive order established data governance bodies to improve data sharing between state agencies and localities. The Executive Order implements the recommendations from the 2019 publication Data Sharing and Analytics Governance Structure for the Commonwealth of Virginia Report. The Virginia open data portal also features resources on data use, a data dictionary, and an open data catalog.
The Washington Education Research and Data Center’s memorandum of understanding describes how data will be collected and shared among partners. It has a strong focus on protecting individual privacy. The Center gathers 11 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 millions of individuals receiving services through publicly funded health and human services programs in Washington State. This data is used for rapid-cycle policy analysis, program evaluation, predictive modeling, and performance measurement to help agencies understand how health services and other factors are related to outcomes for persons served by public assistance programs. Predictive modeling and clinical decision support tools developed and maintained in the Research and Data Analysis’s integrated data environment have 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 resulted in tens of millions in dollars in shared savings payments from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.