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Data Information & Request Process - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Data Request Process

Q. Is technical assistance available to help us to analyze the data and interpret or utilize it most effectively?

A. Contact the program which is responsible for the data. Some are able to provide technical assistance; but may be limited by time and resources. We like to work with you as much as possible, and collaboration is helpful to both the provider (DPH) and the user (you). Please stay in contact with us while analyzing, interpreting and using the data.


Q. Why are data frequently not available at the community or ZIP Code level?

A. There are several issues involved with decisions about releasing data with ZIP Codes, or other community-level data. First, if the numbers or sample is very small, the ZIP Code might allow a researcher or data user to identify individuals. This is a violation of both personal confidentiality and the federal Health Information Privacy Act. Small sample sizes, however, also can affect the validity of the data. So, for example, in using survey data, several ZIP Codes may need to be aggregated in order to have a large enough sample to provide valid estimates. DPH staff will work with you to understand these limitations.

Q. What type of data requests are subject to review by the DPH Privacy Board and the DHSS Human Subject Review Board (HSRB)?

A. Limited Data Requests are just reviewed by the DPH Privacy Board. Whereas, all protected data requests are reviewed by both the DPH Privacy Board and the DHSS HSRB.

Q. How long does it take the DPH Privacy Board to review my request?

A. If all the necessary documentations are provided with the request, it can take anywhere from two to three weeks for the DPH Privacy Board to complete their review.

Q. How long does it take for my protected data request to be reviewed by the DHSS HSRB?

A. Protected data requests are reviewed by the DPH Privacy Board first and then sent on to the DHSS HSRB. The DHSS HSRB must receive the request by the second Tuesday of the month in order for the members to review the request before they meet at the end of the month. Therefore, all protected data requests must be provided to the DPH Privacy Board by the 15th of the month in order to be reviewed by the DHSS HSRB at the end of the following month.

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