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
It often doesn’t matter how clever or well-designed a new technology is – if it can’t easily work with other technologies (and other organizations and people) then it may not accomplish much good at all.
In the last month, three significant reports have underscored this reality – one each from the US (produced by the Social Interventions Research & Evaluation Network), Canada (produced by MaRS Discovery District), and the UK (produced by Snook).
These reports compile a considerable amount of research from across the field of public informatics in general, and community resource information and referral systems in particular. Each assesses a broad swath of organizations and technologies that are trying to innovate in ways that help people in need – yet often struggling to realize their intended potential.
Taken together, this set of research and analysis makes an urgent case that governments, philanthropies, and civil society organizations should prioritize interoperability as a core value of their investment strategies, through promotion of open data standards in general – and Open Referral in particular.
Let’s take a look!
Access to clear, reliable, re-usable community resource directory data is not just important for people who are seeking services that meet their immediate needs — it’s also crucial for people who are seeking to understand the workings of the human service system as a whole, as they seek ways improve health and wellness for entire communities.
Bread for the City — the primary community anchor institutions for the DC Open211 project — is already demonstrating the potential for resource data to spark systemic changes that tangibly improve the lives of their clients and the health of their community.
I’ve just reported on this story over at the Huffington Post. Here’s the gist: Continue reading