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Balancing transparency and privacy


A state currently provides public access to their claim-level APCD data de-identified under a conservative “Safe Harbor Plus” approach. In this form it has limited use for secondary activities such as comparative effectiveness studies, research, and policy assessment. The state sought to redesign its current public use files using the Expert Determination standard for de-identifying confidential health data under the HIPAA Privacy Rule.


Informed by de-identification literature, decades of statistics, healthcare analysis, and data management experience, along with a deep understanding of the landscape, BerryDunn developed an enhanced public use file design by applying statistical and scientific principles, resulting in very low risk that an individuals’ data could be identified. The data can be used meaningfully for secondary purposes.


This design presents an innovative approach to privacy, transparency, and data utility trade-offs, and enhances public use data not only for specialized users such as healthcare researchers, but also for engaged citizens and consumers. The proposed file design allows users without programming skills or highly specialized knowledge to explore a variety of key healthcare market questions, while protecting individual privacy.

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