With the SLG, create a data-sharing agreement to set policies for how data will be shared, used, and protected.
Use the presentation to explain to the SLG the benefits of sharing data and start a discussion on the terms of data-sharing agreements.
Data Sharing: Concepts
There are many reasons to share data among systems. Data sharing increases the ability to analyze data to make decisions or form policies. It discourages duplication of effort in data collection and encourages transparency. Data from multiple sources can be combined to allow for comparisons across geographical or departmental boundaries.
For all organizations to agree to share data, they usually must be able to see a demonstrated benefit first. As part of the pilot, you may want to establish a link with another system to demonstrate how data sharing can work and the benefits it can impart.
For example, a health service delivery organization often requires validation of a candidate’s licensure. Linking the registry of the health professional council that maintains licenses to the HRIS would facilitate the process. The organization could share back with the council in-service trainings that the health worker obtains to maintain licensure.
Another option is for sharing data between ministries. For instance, in Botswana iHRIS Manage was synchronized with the payroll system. The benefit is that once an employee’s information is updated in iHRIS, it can be shared directly to payroll, reducing duplication of effort. In return, iHRIS can extract accurate salary grade information from the payroll system.
Data security is an important consideration when sharing information between organizations. The following measures need to be taken into consideration:
- physical security; for example, only authorized personnel can physically access data through a computer, printout, or other areas where information is stored
- authentication of users, through passwords, PIN codes, or other means, to ensure that the user is indeed authorized to access the data
- restrict access of information to groups on a “need to know” basis.
A data-sharing agreement is a formal contract that clearly documents which data are being shared and how the data can be used. Such an agreement protects the agency providing the data, ensuring that the data will not be misused. It also prevents miscommunication by making certain that any questions about data use are discussed.