OFR Practitioner's Guide Menu

Collect Your Data

This module will assist the overdose fatality review (OFR) data manager in securely collecting and storing relevant case review data.

Confidentiality

Confidentiality is essential for successful overdose fatality reviews. It maintains the trust of participating members and of the community in the OFR process. The lead agency should check state law and consult its legal authority before starting an OFR process.

  1. Relevant federal laws that affect data protections

    OFR teams must understand and adhere to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA; and 42 CFR) in addition to the confidentiality policies of other government-private institutions that serve children and other vulnerable populations to protect decedent information. Refer to the agency’s record retention policy—what types of documents need to be retained and for what length of time.

  2. Relevant state privacy laws

    Many states have statutes and legislation supporting and guiding the OFR process and confidentiality, and every year more states introduce legislation to support and guide the review process. Some states may have additional privacy laws for medical, substance use, and mental health records.

  3. Interagency data sharing agreement

    An interagency data sharing agreement is signed by the senior leadership of each participating agency/members (including any one-time members) that outlines the responsibilities of each party. In an interagency data sharing agreement, all parties agree to share certain information on an established timeline, adhere to certain data protection standards, and identify communication expectations. A sample interagency data sharing agreement is included in Module 4 Resources. Interagency data sharing agreements should be updated annually and amended as new members are added to the OFR team.

  4. Confidentiality agreement

    A confidentiality agreement needs to be signed by members at the beginning of each review. This agreement is at the person/participant level and includes the objectives of the OFR. It prohibits dissemination of information beyond the purpose of the review. A sample confidentiality agreement is included in Module 4 Resources.

    In addition to understanding federal and state laws around OFR and signing data sharing and confidentiality agreements, there are other steps needed to maintain confidentiality. It is recommended that you create a data sharing protocol for the distribution of case information and record-keeping expectations.

    When sharing any sensitive case-specific information outside of the meetings with any members, encrypt the emails or protect them with passwords. Hand delivery also maintains confidentiality.

OFR Information Sharing Toolkit

To assist local communities in capturing key information from the overdose fatality reviews and monitor recommendations to develop a framework of accountability, the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in partnership with the Institute for Intergovernmental Research, epidemiologists, researchers, and local OFR practice professionals began working in August 2019 to develop an OFR Data System.

Better understand what OFR members can and cannot share related to federal laws (such as 42 CFR and HIPAA). Check out the OFR Information Sharing Toolkit.

OFR Data System Access

OFR Sites can access the free OFR Data System on their agency's or IIR's REDCap server.

Learn More
Toolkits - Recommendation

Self-Assessment Checklist

Collect Your Data

Check out the toolkit!

Download the toolkit

Appendix

  • Report

    Overdose Fatality Review (OFR) Data System Guidance, Version 2.0

    Report - 11/9/2022

  • Video

    What is included in the NOK?

    Video - 10/18/2022

  • Video

    How do I download a pdf form of a section in REDCap?

    Video - 10/18/2022

  • Video

    What enhancements were made in Version 2.0?

    Video - 10/18/2022

  • Video

    What is the difference between referred and provided?

    Video - 10/18/2022

  • Video

    What is the difference between mental health condition and diagnosis?

    Video - 10/18/2022

  • Video

    How to deal with unknown dates?

    Video - 10/18/2022

  • Video

    How to complete toxicology section?

    Video - 10/18/2022

  • Video

    What information is included in the case information module?

    Video - 10/18/2022

  • Video

    What does the case recommendation include?

    Video - 10/18/2022

  • Video

    What to include in the narrative sections?

    Video - 10/18/2022

  • Video

    How to determine drugs on the scene?

    Video - 10/18/2022

  • Video

    How do I access the next-of-kin module?

    Video - 10/18/2022

  • Video

    What does the PDMP section include?

    Video - 10/18/2022

  • Video

    What are site specific variables?

    Video - 10/18/2022

  • Video

    How to deal with unknown numbers?

    Video - 10/18/2022

  • Video

    How to answer lifespan timeline questions?

    Video - 10/18/2022

  • Video

    How to Find and Update an Existing Case?

    Video - 9/26/2022

  • Video

    What Else is on the Project Home Page?

    Video - 9/26/2022

  • Video

    How to Find My OFR Data System Project?

    Video - 9/26/2022

  • Video

    How to Enter a New Case and Learn What the Color Codes Means?

    Video - 9/26/2022

  • Webinar

    The NEW OFR Data System: Everything You Need To Know To Get Started

    Webinar - 2/16/2022

  • Webinar

    Investigation and Certification of Drug Toxicity Deaths Training

    Webinar - 2/8/2021

  • Video

    OFR Data System REDCap Project Overview

    Video - 10/29/2020

  • Video

    How to Get Set Up with REDCap

    Video - 10/29/2020

  • Online Resource

    Treatment Record Privacy Laws

    Online Resource - 8/15/2020

  • Sample

    Sample: Confidentiality Agreement

    Sample - 7/22/2020

  • Sample

    Template: OFR Data Sharing Protocol

    Sample - 7/22/2020

  • Sample

    Sample: Interagency Data Sharing Agreement

    Sample - 7/22/2020

  • Sample

    Sample: Confidentiality Agreement and Review Sign-In Sheet

    Sample - 7/22/2020

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