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What is ChildLINK? 

ChildLINK is a large-scale informatics system bringing together information from agencies and service providers in both the public and private sector. This comprehensive information system will help ensure families and children receive the services they need, leading to healthier development in children.

ChildLINK began as a University of Maine/Maine Health and Human Services Center for Disease Control and Prevention collaboration aimed at enhancing the screening, diagnostic assessment, and service delivery for children identified as at-risk for hearing impairments. As recognition of its potential has grown, ChildLINK has been rapidly expanding to incorporate other child-oriented systems, such as Head Start services, the state birth defects registry, and the universal metabolic screen.
 

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Who uses ChildLINK?

At the initial stage, the ChildLINK database will be used by the hospitals across Maine and the Maine Health and Human Services Center for Disease Control and Prevention. ChildLINK is now expanding to serve other health care and service providers (e.g., audiologists, Head Start programs).  Researchers will be able to access anonymous, aggregate information for conducting policy relevant public health studies.

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What Services does ChildLINK Provide Hospitals and Health Care Providers?

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What Services does ChildLINK Provide Community Programs?

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How does ChildLINK Work?

The ChildLINK network is based on the latest Citrix technology. Citrix is a HIPAA compliant, highly secure remote server environment that allows the database to be housed on a single server residing behind a firewall at the University of Maine. Using Citrix, participating programs can access the ChildLINK database through secure, 128 bit encrypted Internet connections using their current computer equipment. Remote computers need to meet minimal specifications (e.g., 286 or above processor), can use any operating system, and require minimal additional software.

Depending on the user status, users will be able to compile reports and obtain statistics from the database that are specific to an individual, a program, or the entire state. For example, a state public health official overseeing the state birth defects registry will be able to access information on all children at all hospitals. However, individual hospitals can only see information they specifically entered into ChildLINK. Furthermore, each user has specific authorization privileges that determine whether they are able to (1) enter data, but not see or change other records, (2) enter and see records, but not change information, and (3) enter, see, and change records.
 

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How is Confidentiality Protected?

Access is protected through log-on IDís and user-specific passwords. An additional level of password protection is required for access to the database itself. Each individual ID carries independent levels of privilege, limiting access to relevant data. All IDís and passwords must be renewed quarterly. Senior staff at each site will verify access and permissions for their staff. In addition, an active, 24/7 intrusion detection system monitors all attempts to log on to the servers and/or violate established protocols. This will allow unauthorized users to be expelled from the network, rather than simply generate logs of suspect activities.

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ChildLINK Training and Support

A licensed audiologist and a computer programmer are available to provide the primary training and technical support to healthcare professionals around the state. Our programmer is also a licensed social worker with hospital experience and is thus familiar with many of the issues that arise in healthcare settings. Support and training can be provided over the phone or on-site. In addition, ChildLINK staff can use our Citrix software to remotely access usersí computers. In this way, staff can demonstrate procedures directly on a users own screen. ChildLINK professionals will also create user-specific relational databases for non-profit programs or agencies interested in joining ChildLINK.

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The University of Maine, Orono, Maine 04469
 207-581-1110

 
A Member of the University of Maine System