Assessment of Characteristics of State Data Linkage Systems
DOT HS 812 180
State systems that integrate data by linking police crash reports to medical records provide important information that can be used to better understand motor vehicle crash injuries. The objective of this study was to better understand the facilitators and barriers to successful data linkage systems. Data were collected by questionnaire, focus group, and a literature search. The Twenty-five States completed the survey and 19 participated in focus groups. Facilitators of these systems included a community context that supports linkage, one lead agency to oversee the system, a coalition of data owners, memorandums of understanding to obtain data, high-quality data, staff with the right mix of technical and non-technical skills, technical assistance and training, and stable funding. Barriers included lack of funding, staff turnover, lack of documented procedures, lags in obtaining data, statutory requirements for data use, complex linkage techniques, and failure to adequately market information available from linked databases.