Improving Access to EHRs



Build and Sustain Good Relationships with Healthcare Facilities Before, During, and After HAI Outbreaks

Effective working relationships, built on frequent interaction, familiarity and, eventually, trust between health departments and healthcare facilities, are an essential component of an HAI program, and can facilitate timely and reliable access to EHRs, including remote access. Through cultivating contacts, building and maintaining relationships, and communicating clearly and often, you can help ensure that the privacy and security of patient information is protected during outbreak investigations. For example, a memorandum of understanding (MOU), or other agreement to collaborate, established before you need EHR access, will speed investigations in case of outbreaks. Good relationships also help stakeholders find solutions to problems with protecting the privacy and security of patient information.

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Best Practices for Health Departments

  • Cultivate the right contacts
  • Build relationships and trust before outbreaks occur
  • Maintain the relationship through frequent contact
  • Communicate effectively during investigations

State Examples

  • Indiana Department of Health has a multi-organizational collaborative to build trust and share EHR resources across the state.
  • Utah Department of Health meets with healthcare facilities immediately after outbreaks to conduct a hot wash, where they can discuss the agency’s performance. The department also sends a survey to stakeholders to get a sense of how the outbreak investigation was conducted.
  • The Practical Play Book provides key tips and examples on how to use EHRs to improve the health in communities.


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Information for this toolkit was collected through interviews with state health agencies and feedback from national-level stakeholders. See the methodology for more details.