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Delaware joins eight-state health care data sharing initiative

Delaware Public Media

Delaware is now part of an initiative to share best practices for collecting and using health care data.

The National Governors Association created the project which also includes Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Vermont and Washington.  It seeks to determine the best use for data analytics to inform Medicaid and other state health spending policy.

Dr. Elizabeth Brown is Medical Director of the Delaware Division of Medicaid and Medical Assistance. She says state health officials have set up a data warehouse meant to inform Delaware’s decisions as the state moves from a volume-based to a value-based health system and sets a healthcare spending benchmark. She adds this is an opportunity to share what the First State has learned and get input from other states.

“We’re going to take a step back look at all of our data systems, look at what best practices are across the country and make sure we are aligning with those best practices,” said Brown.

As a state where the cost of health care is growing faster than its economy, data plays a large role in Delaware’s health spending policy.

But Brown says it’s important to realize the strengths and weaknesses of the data that’s available.

“And that’s actually one of the reasons that projects like this are so important,” she said. “We are analyzing what we can get out of data, what the questions that can be answered accurately and completely with our data are, and where we need to be thinking outside of just the claims data.”

With the support of the NGA, the state health systems will be sharing data techniques with one another over the next 16 months, but will not share the data itself to protect patient privacy.

About 230,000 Delawareans receive Medicaid.

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