Health Department Risk Assessment Tool

Health Department Risk Assessment

In order to fully understand both the risks and potential rewards involved, hard questions must be asked of both the HIE service provider(s) and the public health organization. It cannot be assumed that access to information, by itself, will have a major impact on health department effectiveness or efficiency without assessing its capability to put the information to use.

Anticipated savings and improved efficacy often rely on a redesign of business processes which, in turn, rely heavily on the knowledge, attitudes and skills of the affected workforce.


Tool 6 - Health Department Risk Assessment (PDF form)

Public Health & HIE Toolkit Workbook (Excel)

Can the health department work with the HIO?

  1. Are the HIO's vision, mission, goals and corporate structure compatible with the health department's requirements?
  2. Are there obstructions, such as procurement rules or conflicts of interest, prohibiting a business relationship with the service provider?
  3. Can the health department comply with HIO membership requirements?
    • Fees
    • Participation agreements
    • Information sharing requirements for or about health department clients
    • Standards for information formatting and vocabulary
    • Interfaces with and/or modifications to health department systems
    • Security and privacy rules
    • Etc.
  4. If the health department needs exceptions, can they be granted?

Does the health department have the financial capability to participate in the exchange?

  1. Can the department afford up-front investments
    • Membership fees
    • Necessary hardware/software/network changes
    • Workforce training and certification
  2. Can the health department afford ongoing fees
    1. Reasonably predictable increases if HIO recruitment is lower than expected
    2. Reasonably predictable increases if costs of implementing HIE are higher than expected

Does the health department have the technical capability to participate in the exchange?

  1. Do the HIO and health department use compatible information formats and vocabulary?
    • If not, who will normalize the data to the extent needed?
  2. Can the department achieve the necessary project management for establishing exchange?
  3. Can the department manage the alteration of public health information systems to use the new information or communication capabilities?
  4. Can the department provide timely intervention if the connection to the HIO fails?

Does the health department have the information stewardship capability to meet legal, HIE and ethical requirements regarding the information it may share or receive?

  1. Can the department meet all HIE, HIPAA, state and professional standards for privacy and security?
  2. Will the workforce have the necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes to protect HIE confidential information continuously and appropriately?

Will anticipated changes to health department workflows and business processes be practical and meet expectations?

  1. Do leadership and affected staff see ways to use HIE to improve the outcomes / effectiveness of the affected business processes?
  2. Do leadership and affected staff see ways to use HIE to improve the cost effectiveness (lower cost or higher productivity) of the affected business processes?
  3. Can existing staff acquire the needed knowledge, attitudes and skills to implement the new work processes?
    • If so, how will training be done?
    • If not, how will staff with the needed attributes be obtained?

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