The Role of HMIS and COVID-19

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ICA’s Response to COVID-19

As mentioned in our March 13th News Alert, ICA Minnesota staff are working 100% remotely. We are compelled to do our part in this public health emergency to reduce community impact. 

Over the last week, we’ve upended normal goings on to ensure we can help folks in Minnesota use HMIS as one part of your response to COVID-19. If ever a time to use HMIS data to drive decisions, this is that time.  

The Role of HMIS 

HMIS can trace interactions from one client to another by showing who was in a project at the same time as a client with a confirmed/presumptive case, then displaying their most recent known location in HMIS.  

If you receive word of a confirmed or presumptive diagnosis from a public health official, ICA Minnesota may be able to help you with a new report that displays where the individual has stayed (HMIS projects) since they stayed in your program, and any persons who were in shelter at the same time (those exposed). This will be more efficient than looking up clients one-by-one in ServicePoint and it will, if run by ICA, include clients that could be omitted otherwise due to visibility. 

How to Initiate a Data Request 

Complete and submit this COVID-19 Data Request Form, which will ask for information about the nature of the request, your agency, the public health entity, and client ID of confirmed or presumptive case. The form will route to our Helpdesk where it will be triaged and responded to within 2 business days confirming next steps. 

If able, we will securely deliver the 257 COVID-19 Vector Client Interactions report to the requestor. They can then work with the public health entity, as appropriate, to assist in locating exposed clients or staff. 

Here’s a preview of how the report functions: 

*Please Note: this is one resource available to agencies, not all users should request this data. Users should also not run or distribute this report on their own as it contains identifying information*  

This report also includes provider contact information, and most recent shelter location of each potentially exposed individual. 

Limitations 

ICA will uphold our commitment to client privacy and confidentiality with our response. Any request for release of personally-identified information that is not for this express purpose is subject to the standard HMIS Governing Board review process. If approved, we will not share any unnecessary and/or unrelated details about the individuals affected.  

HMIS does not collect information about specific health conditions, including whether someone has COVID-19, or exact location. This report should only be run by an ICA System Administrator. System visibility may limit the clients that appear in this report if run by a user. In addition, not all agencies across the state use HMIS; if the individual stayed in a non-participating project, this information would be unknown. 

Data Entry 

We recognize the pressure and competing priorities that this pandemic creates. Yet, it is crucial that shelter data is entered as completely and quickly as possible to ensure clients are not missed. If/when transmission occurs within an agency or program, data completeness may be crucial to investigating exposure, quarantining those who are exposed, and reducing the spread of this virus. Please enter data as completely and quickly as you can. 

COVID-19 Resources 

Resources to understand and prepare for COVID-19