HHS Requests Information on New HIV Data Project

Content From: Andrew D. Forsyth, Senior Science Advisor, Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy, U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesPublished: May 03, 20122 min read


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Federal funding for HIV services is spread across multiple departments, agencies, and programs each with its own mission, priorities, and history. In order to achieve a more coordinated national response to the HIV epidemic, the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) recommends that the Federal government develop improved mechanisms to: 1) monitor, evaluate, and report on progress toward achieving NHAS goals; and 2) simplify grant administration by standardizing data collection and reducing reporting requirements for HIV services grantees.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) agencies and offices that fund HIV prevention, care and treatment services use a number of independent information processing tools to collect programmatic, fiscal, and other data from grantees. These tools tend to use different performance indicators that vary in their specifications (e.g., numerators, denominators, time frames) and other ways. As a result, they are limited in their ability to work together or function as part of an integrated system, and this impedes the DHHS-wide monitoring of HIV service delivery and adds undue reporting burden to HIV services grantees.

Accordingly, DHHS has launched a new effort to explore the feasibility of establishing a centralized, secure, data reporting tool for grantees providing HIV services. It seeks to evaluate technological solutions to:

  • Improve mechanisms to monitor, evaluate, and report on progress toward achieving NHAS goals
  • Facilitate more coordinated program administration
  • Reduce administrative and infrastructure costs associated with non-interoperable data systems
  • Facilitate secure data sharing across Federal programs and between Federal and non-Federal partners

This undertaking is consistent with the White House Open Data Initiative and the HHS Open Data Plan, which urge efforts to streamline the collection, sharing, and processing of programmatic and fiscal data in a manner that increases transparency, participation, and collaboration.

Because we would like to hear your ideas about this project, we have published in the Federal Register a Request for Information (RFI) to invite comments on the design, deployment, operations, maintenance, and future enhancement of a centralized, secure, flexible data reporting system.

Responses to questions raised in the RFI are welcome and must be received no later than 5 p.m. EST on 5/17/2012. Electronic responses are preferred and may be sent to: HIVOpenData@hhs.gov.