Over the last several years, identifying strategies for the successful collection, exchange, and operationalization of social health data sets has become a top priority for stakeholders in pursuit of the Triple Aim. Nowadays, nearly everyone working to improve the way care is delivered to individuals who overlap diverse systems can cite the World Health Organization’s definition of ‘social determinants of health.’ These stakeholders recognize the importance of better understanding this body of work – and specifically its data-driven technological underpinnings – as a way of beginning to discover how to improve the health, wellness, and wellbeing of individuals and their communities.
But this vision of expanded social health data integration and use cases is challenging for a number of reasons. Including, but not limited to, a lack of consistency in how the term is used and applied across care settings as well as the existence of comparable, though differing, technological and operational solutions to overcome the inherent complexity of managing the information.
Given these and other related challenges, the Maine Primary Care Association (MPCA), a membership organization that includes all of Maine’s 20 Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) organizations, recently partnered with HealthInfoNet to facilitate a 6-month convening process of a subset of Maine’s FQHCs, made possible through funding awarded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The purpose of this effort: to inform the creation of a unified set of strategies for successfully collecting, exchanging, and operationalizing social health information among Maine’s FQHCs.
What resulted was the creation of the “Social Health Data Action Plan for Maine’s Federally Qualified Health Centers,” a report that provides a series of recommendations for improved data collection, data exchange, and data operationalization practices. Together, the recommendations represent a concerted effort offered by HealthInfoNet and MPCA to support and enhance Maine’s FQHC communities in their social health information strategies – despite and amidst pervasive challenges in the field. As Maine’s FQHCs continue to serve in a role of innovation and leadership in this important work, the report may also assist other systems of care in Maine and beyond in their own critical efforts. For more information, please find our joint Social Health Data Action Plan online here. As a way of summarizing the information presented in the report, please also find a brief slide deck online here that can be used as a companion while reading the full report.
For questions about the Action Plan, please contact Chad MacLeod, HealthInfoNet’s Director of Product & Communication, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For questions about Maine’s FQHCs, please contact Bryan Wyatt, MPCA’s Chief Public Affairs Officer, via email at email@example.com.