Iowa health department, auditor at odds over COVID-19 tracking: 4 details

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The Iowa Department of Public Health and Iowa State Auditor Rob Sand are sparring over access to medical records related to COVID-19 cases, according to a report from We Are Iowa, a Des Moines-based ABC affiliate.

The auditor said he is seeking direct access to COVID-19 medical records in the name of efficiency, but the health department maintains that sending the data to two private companies, Qualtrics and Domo, and State Hygienic Laboratory first is more efficient.

Four things to know:

1. Mr. Sand requested medical records from the state health department to audit the state's COVID-19 response. He has access to medical records overall and is covered under HIPAA, but he said he wants to receive just the coronavirus data.

2. Mr. Sand said he also requested information about how the Office of the Chief Information Officer is involved. The health department responded that the office delivers technical support, including IT coding and data management. The office also automated the process for pulling COVID-19 data every 30 minutes, but the office doesn't have access to the data, Mr. Sand said he was told.

3. The COVID-19 test results are sent to two private companies and another state entity before the health department receives data. Mr. Sand said.

4.The health department said requiring the state's lab to send results to the department first would create inefficiencies and duplication and wouldn't add any value to the process.


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