BOSTON, MA - To address surging interest in the social determinants of health among healthcare providers and non-profit organizations in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, ACT.md has today announced the formation of a statewide alliance to design, develop, and implement solutions for Massachusetts non-profit and community-based organizations to work more closely with the state’s world-renowned healthcare community.
Starting September 1, ACT.md, a national provider of collaboration software for social determinants of health (SDOH), will kick-start a series of conversations, roundtables, and in-depth development and beta-testing with institutions across the state to facilitate collaboration between the healthcare and nonprofit sectors. The alliance’s goal will be to create real-world technology solutions to manage, track, and report on referrals from healthcare systems to social services providers.
“The intent of this Alliance is to help establish best practices, protocols, and tools for linking healthcare organizations with the community resources that deliver local services and supports to people in need,” said Ted Quinn, ACT.md's CEO and Co-Founder. “The healthcare system knows its patients, but the community organizations know the local landscape. Over the next four months, ACT.md will engage directly with nonprofits and healthcare systems across Massachusetts to design and prototype technical solutions for SDOH.”
"Health Leads has been championing collaborations between the healthcare and nonprofit sectors for years," said Dr. Damon Francis, Chief Clinical Officer of Health Leads, "so we welcome the opportunity to be part of this kind of dialogue. The more partners and perspectives we can connect in this critical conversation, the better our prospects are for advancing health equity."
Healthcare reform is a main driver of this effort. As in many states, policymakers in Massachusetts recognize the important role that social and economic factors such as housing, healthy food, and income play in a “whole person” approach to health care. Beginning in January 2020, the state will be investing tens of millions of dollars in a project called Flexible Services:
- $149 million will be available to test whether healthcare providers can improve patient health outcomes and reduce total cost of care by working with local social services organizations to meet patients’ health-related social needs, such as homelessness and food insecurity.
- The state is also launching a $4.5 million Preparation Fund to support participating social services organizations as they innovate around technology, data exchange, business practices, and other areas where close collaborative communication with ACO partners is needed.
“For the past two decades, the United Way has been investing to build the leading directory to assist thousands of people across the Commonwealth,” said Paul L. Mina, President & CEO, Mass2-1-1. “Individuals and families turn to 211 for information and support—whether financial, housing, health or disaster-related services. We’re looking for meaningful ways to innovate our referral and information helpline and website that connects people of all ages and from all communities. We’re excited about the new initiatives across the Commonwealth to meet and fund such needs.
According to experts at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation1, the evidence base for the cost-effectiveness of addressing social need is strongest for high-need populations, such as Medicaid enrollees, who are low-income by definition. Efforts to integrate social services organizations with the healthcare system, such as the Massachusetts Flexible Services program, have widespread support among leaders of social services organizations, such as Mass2-1-1 and East Boston Social Centers.
“Communities across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are developing and deploying new integrated program and service models to meet the needs of their communities,” said Justin Pasquariello, Executive Director, East Boston Social Centers. “At the East Boston Social Centers, we are developing a collective impact approach with our community partners toward a vision of ensuring all children enter Kindergarten ready to learn, joyful and thriving - and their families have the resources they need to support this. We will leverage our network of services providers, technology partners, and community partners to achieve this vision in these dynamic times in Massachusetts.”
If your organization is interested in joining the Alliance, or learning more about this initiative, please visit our sign-up page:
ACT.md’s cloud-based CareHub™ platform connects patients, families, care teams, and community partners on the journey to health and well-being. With ACT.md, everyone can act together to make healthier lives happen, wherever they are. Headquartered in Boston, Mass., ACT.md is privately held and venture-funded by the disruptive innovation investment firm, Rose Park Advisors. For more information, visit https://www.act.md.
1Robert Wood Johnson Foundation & Manatt Health: https://www.rwjf.org/en/library/research/2019/02/medicaid-s-role-in-addressing-social-determinants-of-health.html