Homeless Management Information System • Akron/Summit County Continuum of Care







Questions Answered

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Summit County HMIS Questions Answered

Questions from HMIS Service Point Software Demo
October 2, 2003 – HMIS Advisory Committee Meeting

  1. Will Info Line ever release information in the database? Maybe in 2 years? (view answer)

  2. Will Info Line have access to all the data we enter? What will you do with it?(view answer)

  3. What if patient/client will not consent? (view answer)
  4. If I lock down data because there is no release, can anyone still get into this data? Behind the scene? For aggregate data? Will Info Line have access to it? (view answer)
  5. Release of information allows who to have access to this data? Who does have access to this information? (view answer)
  6. Verbal consent to authorization does not meet HIPAA standards. Will that be removed from the dropdown box on the Release of Information screen? (view answer)
  7. Will liability be shared if information is breached? (view answer)
  8. Will there be (future) interface county to county and state to state? (view answer)
  9. For what reasons would agencies want to share information? (view answer)
  10. Since local funders require certain statistics, should or could a report be included that could be generated from each agency?(view answer)
  11. Would common release forms be effective? (view answer)

 

 

ANSWERS

  1. Will Info Line ever release information in the database? Maybe in 2 years?

    In other areas of the country, information is being shared between agencies based on procedures and protocols they have set up. We have total discretion on how we choose to handle this in our own community. Right now, the only information we plan to release (as long as the Advisory Committee is in agreement) is aggregate numbers that are already being reported by each agency on an individual basis. By posting a "community report summary" of these aggregate numbers, we can decrease the amount of duplication that would otherwise exists when each agency runs their own numbers based on clients they are servicing. Personal information will never be released without a signed consent form.
     

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  2. Will Info Line have access to all the data we enter? What will you do with it?

    Yes, Info Line will have access to the data you enter, but only for administrative purposes. We will be responsible for data cleansing, data backups, data integrity, etc. Info Line staff will work closely with each Agency administrator to make sure all data entered is as accurate as possible. Info Line is bound by all the confidentiality/HIPAA rules just like every other agency. All individuals who have access to this information will sign a confidentiality agreement.
     

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  3. What if patient/client will not consent?

    If a client does not consent to allow information into the database, that client can be entered as an anonymous person and aggregate data can still be collected. It will be up to our Advisory committee to determine the policy on how this situation is handled. In no way do we ever want to refuse service to a client based on no consent.

    Sample of one policy: "For domestic violence agencies only, when a client feels that entry of his/her name into WISP presents an imminent threat to their safety, the client may be added anonymously. When entering a client anonymously, it is incumbent upon the domestic violence agency to keep a record of the client’s unique anonymous I.D. to avoid duplication of entry."
     

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  4. If I lock down data because there is no release, can anyone still get into this data? Behind the scene? For aggregate data? Will Info Line have access to it?

    Bowman’s security has been tested in continuum’s throughout the country. If a record is locked, that information is not available to anyone without the proper security level. You can determine who can access this information within your agency and between agencies. Info Line will have access to the information for administrative purposes only.

    All information starts out locked. You must have consent even if you plan to keep the information locked. When the record is unlocked to another agency, then at that point the new agency will only have access to information that is entered from that date forward. But all information entered into the database MUST have consent signed; otherwise it must be entered anonymous.

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  5. Release of information allows who to have access to this data? Who does have access to this information?

    What others are doing: Each release of information will specifically state the agency name the information is being released to. Only individuals who are on the release will have access to the information. If a new agency is added, it will only have access to information entered from the date of the release.

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  6. Verbal consent to authorization does not meet HIPAA standards. Will that be removed from the dropdown box on the Release of Information screen?

    Yes, verbal consent can be removed from the release of information screen. Our Continuum of Care HMIS Advisory Committee will address this issue in detail in our Policies and Procedures and determine when a verbal consent can be used. Verbal consent is useful for many things other than health information (i.e. food orders – first time verbal consents can be given for referrals emergency food or a pair of shoes or a winter coat.) No health or private information would need to be share to get this type of help.

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  7. Will liability be shared if information is breached?

    This will be determined by the Advisory Committee and explained in detail in the Policy and Procedures manual.

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  8. Will there be (future) interface county to county and state to state?

    This type of interface would require all involved to be on the same system. Some counties and states are already covering large regions. For our community, it will be quite a while (at least 3 to 5 years) before this would even be considered, potentially even longer to make it happen.

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  9. For what reasons would agencies want to share information?

    Intake information and needs assessments are maintained historically so the number of times homeless persons must repeat their stories to multiple service providers is reduced. Service providers who are already sharing information would continue to share information for the same reasons as they always have.

    The opportunity to provide intake and life history one time demonstrates that service providers consider the homeless person’s time is valuable and restores some of the consumer’s dignity.

    Multiple services can be easily coordinated and referrals streamlined.

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  10. Since local funders require certain statistics, should or could a report be included that could be generated from each agency?

    As each agency is added to the system, reports needed by that agency will be created and customized. New requests for additional report customizations and how they will be handled will be detailed in our policy and procedures manual. As much as possible, we will try to create reports that will meet the needs of most agencies to get the project started. The ability to customize reports does exist. All data that is extracted from the HMIS will follow the guidelines set forth in our Policies and Procedures manual in order to ensure that no confidentiality issues are breached.

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  11. Would common release forms be effective?

Common release forms for Agency system users could be effective, although the release forms between agencies will have to be very specific and name each agency that will have access to the client's information.

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