In the early 1970s, Governor John West hired Pete Bailey, an accomplished statistician, to develop a health statistics section to inform policy across the state. The Office was initially a sub-unit of the Governor’s Office, but was eventually moved to the South Carolina Budget and Control Board, which is a multilateral organization that handles the higher functions of South Carolina state government. The governor, a separately elected controller general, a separately elected state treasurer, and finally, the chairmen of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee direct the Budget and Control Board. For years, the organization served as an advisory group to help answer research questions and guide state-level policy.
In the early 1990s, the organization received a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to link patient/client data with administrative data to gain a deeper understanding of what was happening in the health care sector. This grant enabled staff from the Office of Research and Statistics to link these data with a new level of confidence. It also allowed them to demonstrate to agencies how outcomes of critical importance are actually measured in other agency data systems. In other words, these data linkages helped them show the agencies how their program outcomes were tied to program outcomes across other agencies. The grant gave ORS staff a reason to convene partners across a wide array of agencies and the resources to complete the initial demonstrations of the integrated data system (IDS).