[Welcome to Stephen Butzler, Community Engagement Lead for wellconnected, who is joining us on the blog today to share insights about their work in partnership with 2-1-1 providers in New York state and beyond. Hi Steve!] On behalf of wellconnected, … Continue reading
This post is brought to us by Kristi Slette, Secretariat of the Whatcom Resource Information Collaborative in Washington state. Welcome, Kristi!
Washington state’s Whatcom County – the north western most county in continental U.S. – is a resourceful community with many collaborative community-based organizations that serve residents in need.
For many years, the leadership and staff from many of these organizations have voiced a desire to improve the accessibility and reliability of information about resources available in our community. In the past, this desire sparked several attempts to develop a centralized resource directory – but in each instance, our vision was hampered by the complexities of this challenge. We all shared the same goal, but different organizations had different needs and interests; when it came time to address all of them in one single website, we struggled to move forward together.
Learning from the past
In 2019, a series of community assessments and strategic planning sessions once again surfaced the need for a resource directory as a priority for Whatcom County, and a coalition of human and social service organizations convened to address this challenge with fresh eyes. This time, we sought to learn from previous efforts.
Through extensive dialogues with three different groups – social service providers who had been involved in the previous resource access initiatives, the conveners of those initiatives, and managers of current resource directories in our area – we perceived a set of key themes: the importance of leadership, human capacity, and buy-in from the community.
Through this reflection, we recognized that technology – which had previously been our primary focus – is actually only part of the solution. Rather than just designing a new tool, our new initiative would need to focus on building the capacities and relationships that will be needed to ensure that any such system is adaptive, sustainable, and trustworthy.
Building capacity for collaboration
In 2021, having made it a priority to improve access to resources for families with young children, the Whatcom County Health Department provided some seed funding to support our new initiative to establish a resource directory information system for the county. This time, we resolved to build a system that would be collectively “owned” by our community as a whole. Continue reading
This post brought to you by Skyler Young of Connect 211. Welcome, Skyler! This is the story of how a 211 call center teamed up with a local software team to create a modern search engine for community resources, and … Continue reading
[Welcome to Jonathan Abbett, VP of User Experience at Activate Care!]
Imagine if our healthcare and social service systems were able to seamlessly coordinate care around all of our physical, behavioral, and social health needs. Back in 2012, inspired by this vision, I joined a technology start-up that is now known as Activate Care.
I am joined now by a much larger team of colleagues supporting our pursuit of that vision, and we’re honored to work with a community of hundreds of healthcare and social services organizations using our platform. Every so often, we stop to look around our industry and ponder what else we could be doing to help people in need, and to better serve the helpers – the people who work in healthcare, social services, and I&R agencies – who are the end-users of our tools.
What is clear is that communities across America are all at different stages in their efforts to address the social determinants of health (SDoH). These non-medical factors like housing stability, food security, and community safety all play an outsized role in the physical and behavioral health of all of us.
For this reason, many communities have launched or are in the process of developing a portfolio of interventions that help to address SDoH. Think of a coordinated entry system for housing services, the placement of food pantries in hospitals, or a high-risk young-mothers program designed to prevent involvement with the justice system. These efforts have the potential to change lives.
The most successful social interventions go further than this screen-and-refer approach, and embrace the approach that Activate Care calls screen-and-intervene. In order to help communities leverage the power of coordinated care interventions, our care coordination and referral management systems need to talk to each other. Open Referral helps us solve a critical piece of this puzzle. Continue reading
I’m happy to announce that Sarapis is releasing a Laravel-based Open Referral Directory Solution (ORServices) as open source code!
This software enables anyone to create their own community resource directory information system — with a level of design and functionality that is comparable to proprietary resource directory software systems that are available on the market.
ORServices offers a mobile-friendly, geo-aware directory software with search and granular filters built with Open Referral’s Human Service Data Standard (HSDS) compliant data model. By leveraging HSDS, this system can also establish interoperability with other standardized systems, so that resource directory data can be shared among them.
[Gabe Cate is VP of Business Development at WellSky. This is reposted from WellSky’s blog. Welcome, Gabe!]
At WellSky, we envision a future of truly interoperable health and community care. We envision a future where care providers can seamlessly ensure safer, more efficient care transitions for people across care settings — no matter when, where, and how they need care. That means empowering whole-person care that addresses each person’s unique health and socioeconomic circumstances. To achieve this future, we first need interconnected, intelligent technology, and WellSky is leading this movement.
We’re excited to announce that WellSky is furthering interoperability by supporting the emerging Human Service Data Specification (HSDS) for Information and Referral (I&R) providers — including 2-1-1s, Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs), Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs), crisis lines, and more. Continue reading
[This post is from Grady Mitchell for PeaceGeeks. Welcome, Grady!]
PeaceGeeks is a nonprofit organization based in Vancouver that builds digital tools to empower communities in the pursuit of peace.
Our newest project, Arrival Advisor, is dedicated to making it easier for newcomers to Canada to find and access the services they need to build a new life here in British Columbia.
Arrival Advisor was funded by the Google.org Impact Challenge Canada program. This project was developed in partnership with Metro Vancouver Local Immigration Partnerships, along with British Columbia’s 2-1-1 program. Affinity Bridge supported our technical development.
And Open Referral played a key role in Arrival Advisor’s design and implementation.
ShelterTech is currently a 50 member strong all-volunteer non-profit, bringing free wifi and other digital tools to the homeless community of San Francisco.
In November 2017, we won a grant from the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development to collaborate with the SF Bar Association’s Homeless Advocacy Project to digitize their bi-annual print-only resource guide consisting of hundreds of pages on housing, healthcare, job training, education, and other social services. AskDarcel.org, the new online resource guide, now has a database of over 700 organizations and 1100 services available to those in need in SF.
Our goal is to help solve some of the biggest technology challenges faced by those experiencing homelessness, including providing information to help individuals cope with homelessness and get on a path to housing.
To achieve this goal, ShelterTech has adopted the Open Referral format — to both facilitate AskDarcel’s internal resource directory information management and to enable their application to integrate with the broader ecosystem of health, human, and social services activities in the Bay Area including 2-1-1, government agency databases, and a new human services data sharing initiative being developed by Benetech. Our adoption of Open Referral, along with our commitment to open sourcing their projects, played an important role in their grant application with the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development. Continue reading
Welcome to Shelby Switzer, the Head of Integrations at Healthify! Healthify is a startup that helps healthcare providers address their patients’ social determinants of health. This has been cross-posted from Healthify’s blog. Data has been at the core of Healthify’s … Continue reading
Open Referral went to San Francisco on Wednesday August 9th to participate in a social good hack-day at Optimizely. In collaboration with our partner Benetech, Open Referral set up as one of the social good projects that 20+ employees worked on for the day.
Overall, our team was strong in front-end web and mobile developers, so we decided to “forward engineer” Zendesk’s Link-SF application so that it can be deployed on any Open Referral-compatible API. […]
You can find the updated Link source code in our Github repository. If you want to run this app locally, you can save a file as `config.js`and follow the instructions on the setup page. Continue reading