Last week, Benetech’s VP of Labs, Anh Bui, and I traveled to Sacramento to attend the 2018 Let’s Get Healthy California Innovation Conference. We joined hundreds of policymakers, nonprofits, community members and health care leaders from all over the nation to make progress on a ten-year goal to make California the healthiest state in the nation. We were both excited to speak to attendees about Benetech’s work leveraging data to alleviate poverty.
Human connection and collaboration was a central theme for many keynote presentations and breakout sessions. As Nick Adkins, advisory board member of Cloudbreak Health, said in his keynote, “Whatever your role is– whether you’re slinging code, being an executive, tuning up equipment, being a health care provider, these magical moments of connecting with each other at a human level is what this is all about.”
Anh participated in a panel session titled “Access to Services: Leveraging Data, Tools, and Technology” that explored tools that connect consumers to services and resources. Panelists included experts from Bayes Impact, University of Southern California Children’s Data Network, the Division Chief of the Department for Community Health and Engagement, and University of California San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland’s FINDConnect. Richard Thomason, Policy Director at Blue Shield of California Foundation, moderated the panel.
The panel highlighted that the collective challenge in connecting consumers to social services is not about the amount of data that exists but how very little information gets shared. Each speaker introduced innovative tools and technologies that address data collection and data collaboration solutions. Here are key takeaways from the discussion:
- Even though information on social services exists, it may not be readily available for referral agencies or individuals who need it. Individual organizations or agencies compile and rely on their own data which leads to data duplication and inefficiencies across the sector. By leveraging data, software like Benetech Service Net, an open standards data exchange platform that will make it easier to share and maintain information on local social services, can reduce duplication and improve service delivery for people who need it.
- Social and environmental determinants of health should be addressed when diagnosing a patient, and safety net tools and systems need to incorporate this valuable information.
- There are gaps in timely access to health care services and the lack of accurate and scalable solutions. Data-driven solutions can influence better public policies for a more equitable future.
- Data collection efforts need to be more “client-centered” rather than “program-centered” for a more holistic and complete understanding of clients.
The panelists demonstrated that data collaboration is critical in filling these information gaps. Organizations like Benetech and the others participating on the panel bring communities and organizations together to manage this data to benefit all involved. While there is a lot of work to be done to make California the healthiest state, it was heartening to see so many great minds and organizations coming together to collaborate on the path forward. I can tell you from attending the conference that the future is bright.
Learn more about Benetech Service Net: