CLEVELAND and BOSTON, March 17, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Integrated healthcare delivery organization University Hospitals health system (UH) in Cleveland and social enterprise Health Leads today launched a multi-year strategy to improve patient health by addressing social needs. The initial phase of the collaboration includes in-clinic social needs services in the pediatric and women's health clinics at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital (UH Rainbow) and University Hospitals MacDonald Women's Hospital (UH MacDonald). These primary care clinics have grown significantly in the past decade and currently see more than 150 patients per day. Through Health Leads tools, technology and on-site direct services, the clinics are now equipped to connect patients to local resources – including food, utilities, transportation and insurance benefits – as a standard part of quality care.
"Without a doubt, healthcare providers today will be more effective and truer to our missions if we can better understand and address the non-medical factors impacting the lives and health of our patients," said Patti DePompei, RN, MSN, President of UH Rainbow and UH MacDonald. "Our strategic alliance with Health Leads gives us not only the tools and insights to deliver a comprehensive social needs program, but also the leadership and innovation to continually strengthen our commitment to keep our communities healthy."
A dedicated social needs team – including a seasoned program manager, 24 dedicated student advocates from Case Western Reserve University, and a community associate with deep understanding of local neighborhoods, cultures, languages and resources – will work closely with patients to identify needs, make connections to resources in their area and conduct follow up. The team will be armed with Health Leads REACH™, a cloud-based solution to drive workflow, patient screening, case and community resource management, communication and reporting.
To recruit and support the dedicated student volunteers from Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), one of the nation's leading private research institutions, Health Leads worked closely with CWRU's Center for Civic Engagement and Learning, which provides opportunities for students to get involved in their community while promoting civic education, awareness and leadership.
UH and Health Leads are hopeful that this initial program will lay the groundwork for the potential integration of a social needs strategy institution-wide, with a goal to innovate around initiatives like technology and tools, program evaluation, clinician and staff education and new models of social needs service delivery.
"While CMS's recent announcement of its Accountable Health Communities pilot has elevated patients' social needs as a key driver of quality and cost, University Hospitals is several steps ahead in its commitment to spur the industry to adopt a new definition of healthcare – one that addresses the underlying, unspoken barriers to good health," said Health Leads Co-founder and CEO Rebecca Onie. "We celebrate University Hospitals' leadership in prioritizing patients' social needs as a core element of its business planning and in realizing our shared vision to make addressing these needs a standard part of quality care."
For UH Rainbow and UH MacDonald, the Health Leads partnership is an extension of its ongoing investment in new services and programs designed with a focus on prevention, total health and wellness including Healthy Harvest, CenteringPregnancy and the Rainbow dental clinic. The hospitals are preparing for the groundbreaking of a new health center, UH Rainbow Center for Women & Children, in Cleveland's Midtown neighborhood.
SOURCE University Hospitals