Implementing community resource referral technology: Facilitators and barriers described by early adopters

Health Affairs

Health care organizations are increasingly implementing programs to address patients’ social conditions. To support these efforts, new technology platforms have emerged to facilitate referrals to community social services organizations. To understand the functionalities of these platforms and identify the lessons learned by their early adopters in health care, we reviewed nine platforms that were on the market in 2018 and interviewed representatives from thirty-five early-adopter health care organizations. We identified key informants through solicited expert recommendations and web searches. With minor variations, all platforms in the sample provided similar core functionalities: screening for social risks, a resource directory, referral management, care coordination, privacy protection, systems integration, and reporting and analytics. Early adopters reported three key implementation challenges: engaging community partners, managing internal change processes, and ensuring compliance with privacy regulations. We conclude that early engagement with social services partners, funding models that support both direct and indirect costs, and stronger evidence of effectiveness together could help advance platform adoption.

Cartier Y, Fichtenberg C, Gottlieb LM. Implementing community resource referral technology: Facilitators and barriers described by early adopters. Health Aff. 2020;39(4):662-669. doi:10.1377/hlthaff.2019.01588

Publication Year: 
2020
Resource Type: 
Peer Reviewed Research
Study Design: 
Review
Outcomes: 
Utilization
Screening Research: 
No