CalHHS Data Exchange Framework Takes Aim at Health Equity

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Posted on February 28, 2022 by Hannah Nelson

California is on track to adopt a health data exchange agreement by July 2022 that is set to advance interoperability and promote health equity.

The California Health and Human Services Agency (CalHHS) is halfway complete with the development of a data exchange framework that aims to advance health equity, according to a blog post written by John Ohanian, chief data officer and director for the CalHHS Center for Data Insights and Innovation Office.

Ohanian said the state is on track to adopt a data sharing agreement by July 2022 that will govern health information exchange across the care continuum.

The state will require healthcare providers, including hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, psychiatric treatment centers, health plans, and physician organizations, to participate in the real-time health data exchange in January 2024.

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Real-time health data can also help the state assess the impact of programs, operations, and payment arrangements to identify opportunities for improvement.

Ohanian noted that data privacy and security will guide the state’s data exchange efforts.

We must collect, exchange, and use health and human service information in a secure manner that promotes trust, ensures data integrity and patient safety, and adheres to federal and state privacy law and policy,” he explained.

The principles also emphasize establishing clear and transparent terms and conditions for data collection, exchange, and use.

“We must conduct all exchange and operations openly and transparently and communicate clear policies and procedures so that all Californians and the organizations that serve them can understand the purpose of data collection, exchange, and use,” he wrote.

Ohanian said the framework must adhere to federal, state, and industry-recognized data exchange standards, policies, best practices, and procedures to advance interoperability.

Lastly, Ohanian noted that all entities participating in collecting, exchanging, and using health and human service information must act as responsible stewards of that information.

Stakeholders will be held accountable for any use or misuse of information other than for authorized purposes under state and federal law and California’s Data Sharing Agreement and Data Exchange Framework policies.

In April 2022, Ohanian said that CalHHS will update the legislature on its progress. By summer, the agency plans to finalize the policies and procedures for the health information exchange framework.