Enabling Healthy Communities Through Technology

Community Health Center Network is on an innovation roll.  Technology for Healthy Communities has just designated CHCN as one of four national pilots launched to boost health outcomes through sustainable technology solutions. These solutions will tackle the “social determinants” of health, things like food housing and transportation that significantly influence a person’s health status. The announcement follows news that CHCN was chosen as an Innovation Hub by the Center for Care Innovations.

Technology has the potential to break down health barriers. CHCN identifies two areas where technology could improve the lives of our health population:

Community Resource Referral and Coordination

Many community organizations provide resources to address social determinants, yet many who could benefit are not connected. One community provider we interviewed lamented how “we have plenty of food at our grocery center yet no customers.” We are interested in finding technology that will help patients and health workers:

  • screen for needs around the social determinants
  • guide patients/health workers to community resources that match the need and the characteristics of the patient
  • find out key information on resources, including what the resource is, who are eligible, and how to apply

We hope that using technology will not only ease the screening and referral process but catalyze health workers and community providers to consistently use and update one tool, increasing the value of the tool itself.

Patient engagement and Communication

Care Neighborhood provides care coordination and case management services to our most vulnerable patients. These patients frequent the hospital and ER and often hard to outreach. Even when our case managers establish a relationship with a patient, it can be difficult to sustain and engage the member over a longitudinal period. We are looking for technologies that can help an interdisciplinary care team better engage and connect with members, efficiently and effectively. Possible technologies include text messaging services, remote monitoring services, and telemedicine.

If you have a problem area that you think technology could support, we’d love to hear from you!  Please complete this short survey to share your thoughts and add yourself to an email list to receive regular updates: http://goo.gl/forms/q4uNytdrtE

Technology for Healthy Communities is a digital health pilot program that facilitates technology adoption at the community level by tackling the most pressing local health issues. The inaugural program connects health technology innovators with 4 under-served communities across the U.S. with the goals of improving health outcomes and building sustainable partnerships. The program is sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.