I’ve had the honor and privilege of working with the Michigan Community Information Exchange Task Force over the past year. I encourage you to read the report, which is published here. You can also watch this webinar summarizing the report with commentary from a range of task force members.
It’s a long video and an even longer document, so I’d like to provide my own personal summary here. (A couple of pointers for reading the document: the key conclusions are summarized on page 8, and the analysis that informed each of those conclusions begins on page 40.)
In this post, I will introduce the Task Force and summarize its initial findings. In a following post, I will summarize its final recommendations. Let’s dig in! Continue reading →
As integration of healthcare and social care sectors becomes an ever-hotter topic, we’re excited to announce that we’ve taken a small but significant step forward: the Human Service Data Specifications are now aligned with the protocols for healthcare provider directory information specified by the Health Level Seven (HL7®) Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR®).
In 2021, Utah’s incoming governor Spencer Cox outlined a plan – the One Utah Roadmap – to address key priorities for the state in his first 500 days, ranging from coordinated COVID response to addressing the social determinants of health. In support of these priorities, the Governor’s office formed a working group focused on the prospect of “improving social determinants of health (SDOH) service delivery.” United Way of Salt Lake was invited to co-chair this committee in collaboration with Utah’s Department of Health and Human Services. In this blog post, I will share a summary of our experience and consider the path ahead.
The One Utah Roadmap’s SDOH working group was comprised of subject matter experts, public health officials, community-based organizations, and client advocates interested in more effectively coordinating care, sharing information, and meeting people’s needs.
We invited Greg Bloom, on behalf of Open Referral, to address the committee during our initial meeting. During that first conversation, we observed that there are a variety of efforts to facilitate the sharing of information already underway in our communities. Continue reading →
I’m excited to share with you this toolkit for information exchange initiatives that aim to address the social determinants of health – shared by the Office of the National Coordination for Health Information Technology at the US Department of Health and Human Services (known as ONC). The toolkit (PDF downloadable here) synthesizes subject matter expertise from across the health, human, and social service sectors to offer guidance on the design and implementation of initiatives to enable information exchange among healthcare and social care providers.
This toolkit largely addresses issues beyond resource directory information, and yet it reflects many of the lessons learned and strategic objectives of the Open Referral initiative. It may be helpful for communities that are working to improve their supply chain for resource directory information – as well as communities for which resource directory information is just one piece of a more complex strategic goal. I’ll offer some background context below: Continue reading →
This paper provides a strategic framework in which to understand Open Referral’s work in the context of human service directory data infrastructure and governance, and it also offers a broader view of the related but very different challenges of sharing information about people through coordination among service providers.
Often people ask how we enable care providers to actually refer their clients to another service. The answer is, well, Open Referral doesn’t actually deal with the process of “making a referral” at all!
We’re working to ensure that there’s open access to information about the services to which someone might be referred.
But the challenges related to actually sending a person’s information from one provider’s system to another? That’s a whole other tangle of knots. I’ve long hoped that someone somewhere would work on those problems, while believing it should remain outside Open Referral’s scope.
So I’m excited to see that this work is now under way.
The Gravity Project is like kin to the Open Referral Initiative: Gravity is a community of practice that is developing and testing consensus-based open standards to facilitate capture and exchange of data pertaining to people and their social circumstances across a variety of healthcare and social service systems. 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 →
With the world in crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic, health, human, and social service providers face a harrowing dilemma: need is skyrocketing, even as providers’ ability to actually help is severely compromised. Many institutions have struggled to respond or even closed down entirely – while many new efforts to meet communities’ needs have emerged with astonishing speed.
We’ve seen a wave of new efforts to connect people with information about resources — and, in many cases, these new projects quickly ran into some of the same challenges that the information-and-referral sector has been grappling with for years. Information about the availability of community resources is often harder to find – and harder to trust – than one might expect.
Some of the best instances of rapid action have emerged in places where different kinds of organizations can work together to respond in new ways. This is where Open Referral comes in handy. By facilitating cooperation among organizations that maintain and use information about the resources available to people in need, we make it easier for community leaders to respond to rapidly changing circumstances in ways that make the most out of limited time and resources.
Below, we’ve collected a range of examples of new initiatives from across our network. The breadth of experiences is impressive: in some cases, new initiatives are presenting simplified versions of complex resource data to present for a specific context. In other cases, simplified sets of resource data are being shared with more complex systems, which augment them with local knowledge from end users. And in all cases, we can see a balance between the need to respond to this particular extraordinary moment, with a long-term vision of transformed systems. Continue reading →
The District of Columbia’s community of health, human, and social service providers are struggling with a familiar challenge: they want to be able to more effectively coordinate care among their patients and clients, yet their systems can’t currently ‘talk’ to each other.
In response to this issue, DC’s Department of Health Care Finance (DHCF) initiated the DC Community Resource Information Exchange (DC CoRIE) to develop data infrastructure that supports coordinated screening, referral and tracking across a range of health, human, and social services in DC. DHCF selected the DC Primary Care Association (DCPCA) and Open Referral to lead an initial planning phase to help understand how to build infrastructure that would facilitate these functions. As part of this planning phase, we were tasked with the development of a Community Resource Inventory that can sustainably aggregate up-to-date information about the health, human, and social services available to DC residents. 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 →