As the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, it quickly became apparent that health care delivery systems were navigating the emergency with limited statewide data and communication to inform how Minnesotans were being impacted and where resources should be deployed. The MN EHR Consortium expanded focus to develop a model for aggregating summary electronic health records data to inform near real-time public health needs related to COVID-19.

Today, the MN EHR Consortium continues to provide robust information on health equity indicators (e.g. gender, race, ethnicity, rurality, language, age, and other important social determinants of health) related to COVID-19 illness to public health professionals, policy-makers and researchers. Their focus and methodology has expanded to provide critical and timely data related to substance use disorders, and other chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease and hypertension.

The mission of the MN EHR Consortium is to improve health by informing policy and practice through data-driven collaboration among members of Minnesota’s health care community. 

How is data shared between health systems?

Each participating health system’s data stays within their own organization. Participating health care systems prepare summary reports for their patient population; individual-level data is not shared. Summary reports are sent to a central site for aggregation. The MN EHR Consortium is currently working together to implement a common data model across participating systems. The distributed data sharing model encourages collaboration over competition, and prioritizes data privacy and the protection of patient health information.

Who participates in the MN EHR Consortium?

Participation in the Consortium Is open to any health system serving patients in the state of Minnesota. Current systems participating and contributing summary data include: Allina Health, CentraCare, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, Essentia Health, M Health Fairview, University of Minnesota, HealthPartners, Hennepin Healthcare, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Clinic Health System, and North Memorial Health, Sanford Health and the Minneapolis VA Health Care System.

Other affiliated organizations include Minnesota Community Measurement, and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).