Allegheny County Department of Human Services Data Warehouse Highlighted in GAO Report

PITTSBURGH - The Allegheny County Department of Human Services today acknowledged the release of a recent report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) highlighting the Department of Human Services (DHS) Data Warehouse as an example of an integrated system designed to promote data sharing.

“DHS was one of the first government agencies in the country to build a data warehouse,” said DHS Director Marc Cherna. “We are pleased to be nationally recognized by the GAO as an example of best practices in sharing data to advance human services delivery, practice and quality.”

The GAO report, “Human Services: Sustained and Coordinated Efforts Could Facilitate Data-Sharing While Protecting Privacy,” examines four innovative data sharing practices to determine (1) how selected states or localities have shared data across programs to improve the administration of human services, (2) challenges state and local human services agencies face in balancing privacy protections with greater data sharing, and (3) actions that the federal government could take to help address these challenges. Factors identified as critical to the success of data sharing agreements include strong leadership and support by both internal and external stakeholders, the organizational structure of the agency, financial support or seed funding, and a legal review or analysis.

The DHS Data Warehouse is a central repository of social services data allowing DHS to track and report client demographic and served data across its system and other data sources, including those from state and local government agencies. It is a resource tool for research, strategic planning, needs assessment and program evaluation not only to DHS but for universities, research institutes and local foundations. Research derived from the Data Warehouse, whether DHS-directed or independent, can ultimately results in system improvements to better the lives of those served by DHS.

A copy of the report can be found at World Wide Web Icon http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-106. For more information about the DHS Warehouse visit http://www.alleghenycounty.us/dhs/dhsdatawarehouse.aspx.

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