How can health care organizations measure patients’ social needs in a way that allows the data to be actionable? This is a question that many communities are grappling with as they strive towards “whole person care models” that consider a range of needs beyond health care—from housing to food insecurity to intimate partner violence and beyond.
The All In National Meeting brought together 250 stakeholders from around the country that are at the forefront of the movement to improve community health and whole-person wellness through multi-sector partnerships working to share data. Read a summary of the meeting with commentary from attendees on Twitter!
The large number of individuals with mental illness in the nation’s criminal justice system, and their risk of recidivism, is an ongoing public health challenge. Many communities are leveraging partnerships between public health, mental health, and law enforcement agencies to share data across sectors to prevent unnecessary hospitalizations and incarceration for those with complex health and social needs.
Data Across Sectors for Health (DASH) is pleased to announce a new funding opportunity for advanced multi-sector community health initiatives. The DASH Mentor Program recognizes high achievement in multi-sector data sharing and seeks to amplify and replicate successful local efforts. Awardees will receive funding to serve as “Mentors” for the All In: Data for Community Health network, spreading their knowledge and supporting peers while continuing to advance their own work.
Photo by: John Corbin, Garrett County Health Department
Imagine a world where doctors, public health officials, police officers, social workers, and other community stakeholders were all sharing their data in an effort to improve the health of the people they serve.
With the shift toward value-based payment and population health improvement, the core data assets and services that health information exchanges (HIEs) have cultivated are in greater demand and can be leveraged effectively by sectors other than health care to improve health outcomes. These sectors, such as public health, human services, and housing, are both driving and supporting HIEs to share data with a wider set of partners and integrate additional data sources beyond those from health care.
When public health practitioners and their community partners have access to timely, frequent, and local data, it can have a transformative impact on their ability to develop effective interventions. Data from electronic health records (EHRs) holds significant potential for public health surveillance, but the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is often considered a major impediment to obtaining data from hospitals and health care systems.
Systematically analyzing data from multiple sectors can help illuminate the many factors that influence health locally, serving as catalyst for community partners to take action to improve health and equity. Data Across Sectors for Health (DASH) and County Health Rankings & Roadmaps co-hosted a webinar to provide tools and case studies for communities in the earlier stages of data sharing across sectors.
Meaningful engagement of community members is often a desired goal of multi-sector collaborations working to improve community health, though in reality, this can be very difficult to achieve. A recent All In: Data for Community Health webinar featured presenters from two communities—Seattle, WA and Garrett County, MD—who developed innovative processes to engage residents in providing valuable data to inform community health improvement planning.
A recent All In: Data for Community Health webinar featured multi-sector collaborations in Houston and Dallas, led by partnerships between health systems and local food banks. Together these efforts are demonstrating how addressing food security can have benefits for the healthcare sector and the community as a whole. By forming community partnerships and data systems linking social service providers, food banks, hospitals/health systems, and other sectors, these projects are fostering environments that improve food access and ultimately lead to better health outcomes and lower costs.