As part of the healthcare team, Health Leads expands clinics’ capacity to address basic resource needs often at the root causes of poor health.
A Solution to Challenges
When patients and their families seek medical care, they often face critical challenges in their lives at the same time – they have little food, they have no job, they struggle to keep up with bills for gas and electricity. Not surprisingly, these challenges affect their health.
With Health Leads, doctors and other healthcare providers are able to ask their patients: Are you running out of food at the end of the month? Do you have heat in your home this winter?
Health Leads enables healthcare providers to prescribe basic resources like food and heat just as they do medication and refer patients to our program just as they do any other specialty. We recruit and train college students— Health Leads Advocates – to fill these prescriptions by working side by side with patients to connect them with the basic resources they need to be healthy.
The Health Leads Patient Process
When families visit one of our partner hospitals or health centers, the clinic team screens them for basic needs like food and heat that can affect their health. Healthcare providers prescribe resources to meet these needs, often using the electronic medical record to refer patients to Health Leads.
Health Leads Advocates then work side by side with patients to navigate the complexity of the resource landscape – including tracking down phone numbers, printing maps, securing transportation, and completing applications. The Advocates follow up with patients regularly by phone, email, or during clinic visits. Relationships may be long-term or short-term based on patients’ needs and preferences.
As part of the clinic team, our Advocates also provide ongoing updates on a patient’s progress in securing basic resources to doctors, nurses, social workers, and other healthcare providers.
Big Data in Healthcare
In the 2015 winter issue of HP Matter, CEO Rebecca Onie discusses the push to incorporate patients’ social needs into electronic medical records and the potential of Health Leads’ own Salesforce-based technology platform to impact the healthcare system.