Health Information Technology   Health Data Utility  


A Health Data Utility (or HDU) offers advanced technical services to support electronic exchange of clinical, non-clinical, administrative, and public health data to address challenges and achieve greater value for state agencies, payers, providers, community partners, and the public. HDUs leverage existing infrastructure by collaborating with state or regional health information exchanges (HIE)s. The broadened role of an HDU enables complex use cases while ensuring privacy and security of the data.

Chapter 296 (House Bill 1127), Public Health - State Designated Exchange - Health Data Utility (2022) requires the State-Designated HIE (CRISP) to operate as an HDU for the State to assist in the evaluation of public health interventions, advance health equity, facilitate communication of data between public health officials and health care providers, and enhance interoperability of health information throughout the State.

HDU Framework

In May 2022, MHCC released a Request for Proposals to identify a contractor to develop an HDU Framework that could serve as the basis for implementing an HDU in Maryland and model for other states. Civitas Networks for Health (Civitas) was competitively selected in July 2022. Civitas sought input from national stakeholders and subject matter experts by convening a National Advisory Council (or Council) consisting of 14 individuals representing non-profit, for profit, regional, and state-designated organizations. Meetings of the Council were held September through November of 2022. The Council discussed the evolving HIE landscape and defined core components of an HDU. An Issue Brief, Advancing Implementation of Health Data Utility Models, (January 2023) outlines the history, current state, and drivers for the emergence and advancement of HDUs.

The Health Data Utility Framework – A Guide to Implementation (Framework) released in March 2023 is available as a PDF and in an interactive web-based format. The Framework provides guidance on the structure and implementation of HDU models to support multi-stakeholder needs across care and service settings by functioning as a health data resource for treatment, care coordination, quality improvement, and community and public health purposes.

Roundtable Series

Need for a Framework was identified through a roundtable serries that followed an MHCC convened meeting with State leaders and HIE representatives (July 2021) to discuss opportunities, challenges, and solutions to advancing information exchange. Discussions highlighted the need for and future direction of HIEs to function more broadly as a data utility to support providers, consumers, public health agencies, and payers. The resulting roundtable series (January – April 2022) was held in collaboration with Civitas and the Association for Health IT State Leaders. Participants included HIEs, state agencies, regional health improvement collaboratives, and other stakeholders involved in public-private health data partnerships. Discussions centered on collaborations that support HDU implementation, governance, the role of states in overseeing HDU operations, use cases, and sustainability. The series confirmed the need to develop a Framework for defining and implementing an HDU. Meeting information from the series follows:

January 31, 2022: Main Session Recording, Breakout #1 Recording, Breakout #2 Recording, Presentation, and Participating Organizations 

February 28, 2022: Main Session Recording, Breakout #1 Recording, Breakout #2 Recording, Presentation, and Participating Organizations 

March 28, 2022: Main Session Recording, Breakout Session Recording and Participating Organizations

April 25, 2022: Recording, Presentation and Participating Organizations

Last Updated: 5/31/2023