The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, in partnership with CDC and the Keystone Policy Center, launched a web-based toolkit, Improving Your Access to Electronic Health Records During Outbreaks of Healthcare-associated Infections, to help health departments improve information exchange with healthcare facilities during an outbreak investigation. These investigations help public health agencies and healthcare facilities better understand the cause of an outbreak, get a clear clinical picture of patients who are or who might be affected, and stop the spread of the disease so that fewer people get sick or die. When healthcare facilities provide public health professionals with timely access to their electronic health records, they help ensure that cases are found quickly and that the outbreak investigation proceeds most efficiently.
The toolkit includes best practices, lessons learned, and tools such as sample data use agreements, governance documents, state regulations, and letters to facility leadership. It also includes advice from state health agency staff in the following roles: healthcare-associated infections coordinators, state epidemiologists, informatics directors, and legal counsel.