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Best practices from the field: Using social determinants of health resource and referral data to increase equitable access and connection rates to essential resources

Health Leads

The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored and widened the gap between the needs of communities and availability of resources along with the need for accurate data to support decision making and quality improvement. Our already-fragile social safety net is struggling to address the economic consequences of the pandemic, demonstrated by unprecedented unemployment and high rates of food and housing insecurity (Quinn and Law 2020). Prior to COVID-19, health care investments in SDOH programs to support connecting patients to community resources were on the rise, supported by a proliferation of technology solutions like Aunt Bertha, Unite Us, NowPow and others (Patchwise Labs 2018). These resource databases serve as critical tools for tracking the local services landscape and connecting people to the essential resources they need to be healthy (Cartier et al. 2019). However, when adopting these technology solutions to support SDOH programs, it is important to recognize that more resource information does not always result in people being connected to resources. There are best practices for managing resource information, and using and interpreting the data to effectively and equitably connect people to resources. Here, we aim to provide examples to demonstrate the ways in which data usage and interpretation can impact equitable access to essential resources and improve connection rates. 

Best Practices from the Field: Using Social Determinants of Health Resource and Referral Data to Increase Equitable Access and Connection Rates to Essential Resources. Health Leads; July 2021. Available online. 

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