The Georgia General Assembly might consider legislation in 2018 to create an system to share data among government agencies. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM

Georgia might share government data on health, crime and more

From drug abuse statistics to education results, data collected by Georgia’s government could soon be more easily shared among state agencies.

The goal of the state’s information sharing project is to find better ways for the government to analyze problems and become more efficient, said Rep. Katie Dempsey, the co-chair of the Joint Study Committee on Transparency and Open Access in Government.

The committee recommended Dec. 18 that the state consolidate data so it can make evidence-based decisions that improve the health, economics and well-being of Georgians.

“We need as many participants from government agencies to share information and prevent crises in families’ and Georgians’ lives,” said Dempsey, R-Rome. “It’s much better to have people equipped with more information.”

For example, agencies could better collaborate on the opioid epidemic by sharing health and crime data. The state could also use public safety, prison, unemployment, transportation and child abuse information.

Residents wouldn’t be identified by name, and compliance with health and education privacy laws would be required, according to the committee.

Legislation could be introduced next year to decide which agency would oversee the integrated data system — possibly the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget — and to determine its governance, according to the committee’s recommendations.

Similar programs have been implemented in other states including South Carolina, Florida and Michigan.

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