Designing a More Effective, Safer Way to Share Data

The Challenge

The State of Connecticut recognizes that making data-based decisions is a powerful way to create policies and programs that serve constituents effectively. A more integrated view of data from different state agencies could improve many services and better inform policies.

However, existing data sharing practices across siloed agencies make it challenging for the state to share and analyze data. For example, a family may enroll in multiple state-sponsored programs, such as food and nutrition SNAP benefits, child support, and financial assistance. Each of the agencies involved gathers data in ways that uniquely and specifically meets their own needs, making it difficult or impossible to combine agency data and get a more comprehensive understanding of that family’s needs.

State officials have recognized that this siloed data collection prevents opportunities for improving programs, increasing long-term success for families enrolled in these programs, and reducing costs to the state and local governments. Connecticut sought a better way to implement data sharing between agencies.

The Project

The State of Connecticut engaged Bloom Works to advise on more efficient, ethical, and secure data sharing practices. Bloom, along with our partners at the Office of Policy and Management (OPM), conducted user interviews with 13 data sharing practitioners across state agencies. We also researched existing data sharing best practices, case studies from other states, and a report on legal implications of interagency data sharing written by OPM.

The Result

Bloom created a Data Sharing Playbook for the State of Connecticut, powered by the findings of a 4-month research sprint. The playbook contains best practices and guidance for:

  • Enabling data sharing
  • Safeguarding data
  • Responding to data requests
  • Transferring data

We also conducted a workshop with several Agency Data Officers and data sharing practitioners at different agencies to test the content of the playbook and encourage engagement.

OPM now has a compilation of data sharing resources on the Agency Guidance page of their website. Bloom also helped advocate for the state to use GitHub, an open source tool to host the playbook. Hosting on GitHub allows other states and departments to reference the information and share edits and suggestions in an open and ongoing way.

The work on the playbook was valuable for our team at OPM in understanding and documenting the process for data sharing in CT. I especially appreciated the interviews… The focus on the experience of the user has been something that we have continued to think about and work towards as a team.”
Research Analyst for OPM

Services Used

  • Discovery Sprints
  • User Research
  • Comparative and Landscape Analyses
  • Data Sharing
  • Data Architecture

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