Refining Health Innovations

Health and Wellness Coach Emily Seck estimates that ninety percent of patients at LifeLong Medical Care’s Trust Clinic are homeless. Meeting the specific needs of its patients means Trust Clinic must operate a health center like no other in its system. Staff stepped up to the challenge, collecting data, testing and refining services and workflows to provide the best care to downtown Oakland’s growing homeless population.  Spreading the word about what they’ve learned would benefit the many communities facing similar crises.

Last week, Trust Clinic shared their experiences with health care systems across the state as part of a day-long gathering co-hosted by Community Health Center Network (CHCN) and the Center for Care Innovations (CCI). Participants designated as CCI Innovation Hubs include medical systems, managed care organizations, and health centers.  Along with supporter California Healthcare Foundation, they aired challenges and breakthroughs they have experienced in applying different technologies to improve patient care.

“Because the Innovation Hubs community is largely virtual, every six months we try to bring the group together at one of the Hub’s sites to showcase what people are learning and collaborate to solve technology implementation challenges,” says Veenu Aulakh, Executive Director at CCI.

According to CHCN Chief Operations Officer Rhonda Aubrey, “CCI Hubs has created a close community of safety net providers supporting each other as we engage in innovative solutions to address our health centers’ and patients’ needs.  The in-person event strengthens the bonds and allows for us to deeply engage around the successes and challenges we have experienced during the year.”

Aubrey and CHCN Chief Medical Officer Laura Miller, MD focused their presentation on how CHCN uses data to drive operations and outcomes for its most vulnerable and complex patients. Among the technologies it deploys to improve care and lower costs, CHCN partners with Alameda Heath System in using a specialty care e-consult platform (link). It also uses the Tableau data visualization tool to help health centers identify and address gaps in care (link).

“As hosts, as we prepare our presentation, we are also able to consider the fine tuning, or next steps, that we want to engage in with our innovation projects,” said Aubrey.

In addition to presentations by Trust Clinic and CHCN, LifeLong Medical Care staff walked the group through a case management template they designed in the NexGen electronic health record (EHR) system. By being housed in the EHR, the data is both more quantifiable and more visible to the primary care team.

According to CCI, with the initial two years of funding for the initiative completed, the hubs continue to work to transform the cultures of their organizations and create new connections to a larger ecosystem of companies, mentors and innovations.

Read more in the Innovation Hubs March 2016 Evaluation.