Exploring the role of Technology in Community Health at Health 2.0

This week innovators and leaders in digital health from around the country gathered in Santa Clara for the Health 2.0 conference to share insights and preview the latest technologies transforming healthcare.

Welkin Health CEO, Chase Hensel, along with partner, Community Health Center Network (CHCN), and fellow Technology for Healthy Communities winnersHealth Planning Council of Northeast Florida, the City of Jacksonville, CTY, Way to Wellville, ACCESSHealth Spartanburg and Healthify—participated in a panel discussing the important role technology plays in community health.

It was also an opportunity for the finalists to showcase their unique partnerships which were recognized by Health 2.0 and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation by awarding them grants to improve health in their communities.

“Closing the Tech Gap: Health Tech Adoption in Communities”

Introducing new technologies in the community setting is an important step to better address social determinants of health that these communities so often face and an essential step to improve and sustain overall health outcomes.

At the “Closing the Tech Gap: Health Tech Adoption in Communities” session, Hensel, and CHCN’s Strategic Initiatives Manager, Kristian Lau, presented the details of their innovative partnership and demoed the complex case management platform Welkin is building to help CHCN substantially scale its Care Neighborhood program, starting with three and expanding to all eight of its clinics in the Bay Area.

Completely configurable, Welkin’s platform is designed to meet the specific needs of CHCN’s program protocol. CHWs will be able to follow up with community members by phone call, text or email on the Welkin platform, further strengthening patient engagement. As CHCN expands to more community clinics, each clinic will have personalized workflows for CHWS as well as EHR and claims database integrations for clinical decision support.

CHCN supports a wide group of patients with both medical and social care issues and needs—both of which need to be coordinated to keep these patients well and out of the ER. CHCN’s Care Neighborhood program helps close this gap.

Across the country, fellow winners, NYC-based Healthify and partner ACCESSHealth Spartanburg, with the support of Spartanburg Way to Wellville and the Mary Black Foundation, will pilot their community resource platform to provide community interventions for social determinants of health at the point of care. By collecting social and behavioral information, the partnership will strengthen ACCESSHealth Spartanburg as a center for both quality provision of healthcare and social service referrals.

Finally, CTY’s NuminaTM technology will leverage transportation analytics to improve health in Jacksonville, Florida. The third most dangerous metro area in the U.S. for pedestrians, the Health Planning Council of Northeast Florida, the City of Jacksonville and the Clinton Health Matters Initiative and partner CTY’s pilot project will help identify and encourage safe opportunities in the Jacksonville, FL community for residents to be more physically active, ultimately improving health outcomes and reducing rates of chronic disease. CTY’s NuminaTM technology will collect bicycle and pedestrian traffic data from the Jacksonville community, which they can use to assess current conditions, plan further improvements, and use as a baseline comparison for impact of forthcoming improvements.

Partnering to Create Healthy Communities for the Long-Term

The atmosphere at Health 2.0 confirms that it’s an exciting time for digital health. An abundance of creative innovation taking place is spurring opportunities for developers to deliver new solutions for providers, caregivers and healthcare organizations to improve patient health.

The greatest promise of digital health is the extension it affords to reach populations and communities who are most vulnerable, underserved and at an elevated risk due to social determinants beyond their control—such as the East Bay communities that CHCN and Welkin will support with their case management platform, highlighted in this video.

As we saw through the collaborations and advancements coming out of Health 2.0 this week, digital health is strongest and most impactful when it reaches and helps the people who need it the most. Teaming up with strong community partners ensures this happens leading to improved, long-term health outcomes.