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Approaches for Overcoming Barriers to Cross-Sector Data Sharing

Published Date January 28, 2022
Research Topic
Research Type
Authors Jennifer Garner


OBJECTIVES: To characterize factors influencing the development and sustainability of data sharing in the Mid-Ohio Farmacy (MOF), a produce referral program implemented in partnership between a community-based organization (the Mid-Ohio Food Collective [“Food Collective”]) and an academic medical center (The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center [OSUWMC]).

STUDY DESIGN: We used an in-depth case study approach to identify challenges that arose during implementation of the MOF and related solutions via semistructured interviews with representatives of both organizations (May-September 2020).

METHODS: Key informants from OSUWMC (n=20) and the Food Collective (n=11) were identified using a combination of purposive and convenience sampling; they included administrators, project champions, clinical providers, and food pantry representatives. Interview transcripts were coded using a deductive dominant approach guided by a logic model aimed at determining the resources and activities relevant to the development of the partnership.

RESULTS: Challenges of cross-sector data sharing fit into 3 themes: data sharing regulations, data exchange capabilities, and cross-sector data integration. Overcoming these challenges required creative workarounds—for example, linking patients across organizations was done via establishment of a unique, partnership-specific patient identifier, which was incorporated into the health system’s electronic health record for continuity.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that current regulatory frameworks are misspecified to the growing interest in cross-sector partnerships between health care and community-based organizations. Future efforts to support these relationships should consider clarifying rules around data sharing and increasing Medicaid support for nonmedical, health-related social needs.