FAQ

Who developed ESP?

What are the benefits of ESP?

Where is ESP currently installed?

What is a distributed data network?

Where does the funding and support for ESP come from?

Who do I have contact about setting up ESP at my site?

How much does it cost to set up ESP?

Is ESP a program that an organization would execute internally or is it a cloud service?

How long does it take to set up ESP?

What does an organization have to do to prepare its health record data for communication with ESP?

Who do I contact if I have issues or problems with my ESP installation?

What are the security features that protect personally identifiable information (PII) and personal health information (PHI)? Is this HIPAA compliant?

What is RiskScape?

How do I get access to RiskScape?

Can I use MDPHnet for research purposes?

 

Who developed ESP?

ESP was developed as a partnership between the Department of Population Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and selected clinical practices with funding from CDC, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, National Institutes of Health, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. See About Us for more information. 

What are the benefits of ESP?

ESP makes public health surveillance more timely, complete, granular, and efficient. It helps practices fulfill their mandatory communicable disease reporting function electronically and automatically rather than manually.  It facilitates population health monitoring and evaluation for community health needs assessments. It allows health departments to monitor the prevalence and epidemiology of chronic conditions in a more timely and efficient manner compared to traditional surveillance.  

Practices that use ESP for notifiable disease reporting in Massachusetts are eligible for Meaningful Use credit for reporting to a Specialized Registry

See Features for more information. 

Where is ESP currently installed?

ESP is installed at Atrius Health, Cambridge Health Alliance, and the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers. These three sites also participate in MDPHnet. Other installations of ESP are active at Planned Parenthood of MA, Fenway Clinic, MetroHealth in Ohio, and Tarrant County in Texas. 

What is a distributed data network?

In a distributed data network, all clinical data including all protected health information resides at the provider site only. Queries are sent to partners to execute locally rather than having partners send raw data for central analysis.  De-identified summary data alone is transmitted from provider sites to the health department. Confidential personal health data remain with the original data holders.

Where does the funding and support for ESP come from?

Primary support for ESP currently comes from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.  Previous sources of funding have included CDC, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, and the National Institutes of Health.

Who should I contact about setting up ESP at my site?

Please feel free to contact us to discuss whether ESP can be helpful to you. 

How much does it cost to set up ESP?

Cost of installation varies widely depending upon practice size, IT expertise, and IT resources.  The ESP software itself is free. Costs are incurred for a physical or virtual server to host ESP, to establish a datafeed from your EHR to populate ESP, and then for mapping and validation. Maintenance costs for ESP once operational are minimal.  We partner with an informatics vendor that can help install, map, and maintain ESP for partners that wish to have this service.

Is ESP a program that an organization would execute internally or is it a cloud service?

ESP is a software program that can be downloaded onto a standalone or virtual server at the health care providers site. It can also be installed on cloud-based servers.

How long does it take to set up ESP?

Duration of installation varies widely depending upon local expertise and resources.  With dedicated effort it is possible to be operational within one month. 

What does an organization have to do to prepare its electronic health record data for communication to ESP?

Please see our Installation Guide in Resources for this information.

Who do I contact if I have issues or problems with my ESP installation?

Please feel free to contact us if you have any issues or problems with ESP installation.

What are the security features that protect personally identifiable information (PII) and personal health information (PHI)? Is this HIPAA compliant?

PHI and PII are protected because these data never leave the provider site other than for state-mandated notifiable disease case reports. All other conditions are only shared as de-identified summary reports.

The transmission of PHI in notifiable disease case reports is allowed under HIPAA when it is to be used for preventing or controlling disease, injury or disability.

ESP notifiable disease reports are sent via encrypted HL7 message to the Department of Public Health and only include the minimum necessary data required by them. 

What is RiskScape?

RiskScape is the web-based data visualization platform for ESP in Massachusetts (MDPHnet) data. It provides timely, high-level summaries of specific health measures of interest to public health practitioners and others charged with population health management. It utilizes data from the same clinical partners as MDPHnet but is built on a centralized, individual-level, deidentified, and anonymized dataset that is updated monthly. See our RiskScape page for more information.

How do I get access to RiskScape?

At this time, access to RiskScape is limited to selected staff at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and our partner sites at Atrius Health, Cambridge Health Alliance, and Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers. If you belong to one of these organizations and wish to get access to Riskscape, please fill out the log-in request.

Can I use MDPHnet for research purposes?

MDPHnet was designed first and foremost to serve the surveillance needs of health departments.  There is currently no formal mechanism to use MDPHnet data for research but to the extent that researchers have questions that align with Massachusetts Department of Public Health priorities and are acceptable to MDPHnet clinical partners it might be possible to make special arrangements. IRB approval from HPHCI, MDPH, and the partner sites will need to be obtained for all research projects. Please contact us with any questions or if you are interested in collaborating on a study using MDPHnet data.

 

Contact us with any further inquiries!