Community health agency administrators’ access to public health data for program planning, evaluation, and grant preparationedit
The Affordable Care Act mandates that public health data be made available for community agency use. Having access to such data allows community agencies to tailor interventions, evaluations, and funding requests more effectively. This study, jointly undertaken by Syracuse University faculty and students with the New York State Perinatal Association, sought to understand community agencies’ access to requests for governmental data, as well as to identify areas for improving data access. Results from this survey of administrators from 43 agencies in New York State found that only one-half of their requests for data were successful. Difficulties in obtaining access to needed data included fiscal and staffing constraints of the state-level agencies that house the data, as well as possible overinterpretation of confidentiality policies. In addition, some of community agency respondents reported that their staff lacked skills in data analysis and would benefit from training in epidemiology and quantitative evaluation.