Food Insecurity Referral Project Leads to Major Tech Connection


Photo by Markus Spiske

A project designed to streamline the Minnesota Women, Infant, and Children (MN WIC) referral process for physicians and clinic staff is headed into its next phase with the creation of a statewide data-sharing system. The project, funded by an AAP Food Insecurity grant, aimed to close the loop between families and the MN WIC program through the touchpoint of routine clinic visits. The project examined how creating EMR referrals to the WIC program and sharing patient information can promote WIC enrollment and encourage sustained participation.

The project piloted a read-only system between Hennepin Healthcare and Hennepin County WIC that allowed a workflow to be integrated into a clinic visit record. According to Dr. Diana Cutts of Hennepin Healthcare, it was encouraging to see how the collaboration between the medical provider and WIC was enhanced.

“The focus on how technology can be helpful on both sides of this relationship,” said Dr. Cutts. “No more fax machines, no more mailing. It is appropriate for what’s possible these days. It helps everyone be more efficient. We were able to move some boulders in this process and create a connection that everybody benefits from. It’s been a really great gift to all of us involved.”

MNAAP is working with several partners including Ramsey County WIC, Minnesota WIC, and Hennepin County WIC to create a closed-loop family referral system between providers and the state’s Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) agency. The next step will be for the Minnesota Department of Health to help create a statewide system for referrals, as well as sharing vital statistics data.

Annual Sponsors

Children's Minnesota
Gillette Children's
Hennepin Healthcare
University of Minnesota Health
Essentia Health
Mayo Clinic
Shriners Healthcare for Children-Twin Cities