Integrating longitudinal data from community-based organizations (eg, physical activity programs) with electronic health record information can improve capacity for childhood obesity research.
A governance framework that protects individual privacy, accommodates organizational data stewardship requirements, and complies with laws and regulations was developed and implemented to support the harmonization of data from disparate clinical and community information systems.
PARTICIPANTS AND SETTING
Through the Childhood Obesity Data Initiative (CODI), 5 Colorado-based organizations collaborated to expand an existing distributed health data network (DHDN) to include community-generated data and assemble longitudinal patient records for research.
A governance work group expanded an existing DHDN governance infrastructure with CODI-specific data use and exchange policies and procedures that were codified in a governance plan and a delegated-authority, multiparty, reciprocal agreement.
A CODI governance work group met from January 2019 to March 2020 to conceive an approach, develop documentation, and coordinate activities. Governance requirements were synthesized from the CODI use case, and a customized governance approach was constructed to address governance gaps in record linkage, a procedure to request data, and harmonizing community and clinical data. A Master Sharing and Use Agreement (MSUA) and Memorandum of Understanding were drafted and executed to support creation of linked longitudinal records of clinical- and community-derived childhood obesity data. Furthermore, a multiparty infrastructure protocol was approved by the local institutional review board (IRB) to expedite future CODI research by simplifying IRB research applications.
CODI implemented a clinical-community governance strategy that built trust between organizations and allowed efficient data exchange within a DHDN. A thorough discovery process allowed CODI stakeholders to assess governance capacity and reveal regulatory and organizational obstacles so that the governance infrastructure could effectively leverage existing knowledge and address challenges. The MSUA and complementary governance documents can inform similar efforts.