Data Use Agreements (DUA) with NHSN

Health Departments can Access Data Reported to the National Healthcare Safety Network

Since October 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion (DHQP) has provided state health departments with additional access to data reported by healthcare facilities in their jurisdiction to CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN), and beginning in 2018, this additional access is extended to local and territorial health departments. NHSN is the nation’s most widely used healthcare-associated infection tracking system. NHSN provides facilities, states, regions, and the nation with data needed to identify problem areas, measure progress of prevention efforts, and ultimately eliminate healthcare-associated infections. Since 2006, CDC has provided health departments in states with mandatory HAI reporting requirements with access to mandatorily reported data in their jurisdiction. As of 2015, thirty-three states and Washington D.C. use NHSN for that purpose. Now CDC is making provisions for health departments — regardless of whether their state or municipality has a mandatory reporting requirement — to improve access to data reported from facilities in their jurisdiction to NHSN that are outside the scope of a state, local, or territorial mandate.

The additional provisions are designed to allow data access solely for the purposes of surveillance and prevention. The Data Use Agreement (DUA) Template [DOC – 31 KB] is the starting point in discussions between health departments and CDC’s DHQP. After a state, local, or territorial department of health has worked with CDC’s DHQP to complete a DUA and before the health department begins accessing new NHSN data, DHQP will provide healthcare facilities in the jurisdiction the opportunity to opt-out of voluntary reporting to NHSN. Some healthcare facilities voluntarily report data to NHSN, even in states and municipalities with HAI reporting mandates. Those facilities will be able to stop their voluntary NHSN reporting before the new data access provisions go into effect. CDC’s DHQP and health departments want voluntary NHSN reporting to continue wherever possible, while simultaneously enabling health department access to those data for surveillance and prevention programs. The overarching goal of these access provisions is to enhance the value of data reported to NHSN for public health purposes.

State, local, and territorial departments of health that are interested in entering into a DUA with CDC’s DHQP should review the DUA Template and contact DHQP to schedule an introductory call. DHQP suggests that the initial call include the HAI coordinator and other health department staff (e.g., epidemiologists), as well as legal counsel who are likely to be involved in discussions with DHQP about a DUA. DHQP requests that health department staff contact to arrange the initial call with DHQP and any follow-up calls related to DUA work.  More details on completing a DUA with CDC can be found here [PDF – 59 KB].