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Should Community Resource Referral Platforms be a Public Good?


This episode features a conversation between Lauren Taylor, PhD, MDiv, MPH, a postdoctoral scholar at NYU School of Medicine, and Kelly Cronin, MPH, MS, Deputy Administrator, Innovation and Partnership at HHS Administration for Community Living. This session is the fifth in a series focused on health care sector efforts to provide Assistance to patients to reduce their social risks. In this conversation, Lauren and Kelly explore pressing questions surrounding the governance and interoperability of software platforms marketed to health care systems and designed to streamline information about and connection to community resources to address social needs. 

Recommended references:

Edited audience questions (clustered by theme): 

  • Interoperability: What are the emerging interoperability standards across platforms? Will the work of The Gravity Project enable standards consistency that might support the CBOs? Are there any national certification efforts similar to ONC EHR certification process to propel interoperability standards between these new platforms?
  • Data uses: How can we leverage data on the back end of these platforms to assess needs, improve care, and support advocacy?
  • Effectiveness: Have we seen evidence on how effective the R&R systems are? How much should we invest in improving them? Would the $ being invested in these platforms be better spent on actual services rather than on an infrastructure to connect to services that are not robust enough? 
  • Government role: Should the government’s position be to support CBO funding, capacity, and standards, not procurement of software? Are there anti-trust laws that would avoid a single company owning this entire space?
  • Resident/community ownership: Are there ways for the community to benefit financially from these platforms, especially because they are providing the referral resources? What is the role of residents in this – after all, isn’t this all “for them?”