Step 1: Identify partners
Who are partners? Partners are different at every health department. Within a health department, partner perspectives on data modernization will differ. Think about partners by considering the individuals who will be involved in or impacted by data modernization work that are not part of the data modernization planning team. This includes internal and external partners across the continuum of data work—from information technology staff that might build software to program staff who use data to evaluate the impact of public health interventions.
In a public health department, relevant partners include public health program staff, administrators, data analysts, epidemiologists, clinical staff, procurement, grants and contracts staff, information technology specialists and many others. Casting a wide net will ensure that individuals who should participate in data modernization planning and implementation are able to provide input from the beginning. As partners are identified, record those individuals in a catalogue to use for communication efforts throughout each phase of data modernization planning and implementation.
Examining staff, programs and other agencies that should be included within the health department’s data modernization efforts requires a review of partnerships. Does the health department partner with medical providers or other state or local agencies for the data? For instance, does public health work with the department of motor vehicles (DMV) to receive information on adult heights and weights and their place of residence? Does the health department partner with the department of workforce development (DWD) to receive occupation data and then provide demographic data information that they are missing back to DWD?
A partner engagement analysis matrix is included in the Data Modernization Planning template. This is a valuable tool to identify all those who will be influenced by the health department’s activities. Complete this matrix to determine partners for the data modernization work and their level of engagement.