UnitedHealthcare Community & State has a patient-centered model that identifies people with complex health care needs and deploys locally based community health workers to meet and engage them, either over the phone or in person. Getting these workers the right information about services available to members, right away, is critical.
This is not as easy as it might sound at first glance.
We live in a society where “Google” is now a verb and information appears to be everywhere—on our phones and watches, even in our refrigerators and beds. Yet services and organizations can rapidly change. New organizations spring up, and others contract or shut down. If a community health worker or a member advocate is forced to rely on search engines or a more static directory, the information might be out of date.
And what happens if you’re desperate for food or mental health treatment and have to take a bus to reach a food shelf—only to find that it has moved or shut down, or won’t accept your plan? That trust with the plan breaks, and it may never be recovered.
As we saw in the first installment of this series on Hotspotting, having a vast quantity of data is only one piece of the puzzle. Having the skill and resources to find the right information is what matters to a person who is looking for help.
After assessing the person’s needs, the community health worker or outreach specialist can use Healthify, a robust, online database of social services, to connect members to resources in their community that makes sense for them, through either a desktop or mobile version. The tool includes thousands of resources, allowing our team to effectively connect individuals to social services that can help them overcome barriers to their health.
“Healthify is very easy to use. I also like the fact that they send me messages with helpful tips, inform me about any changes they have made and they also invite me to contribute with new resources to make the searches more efficient,” said Amparo Torres, an Advocate4Me representative on the Florida HARC (Hospitality and Reminder Center) team.
Healthify’s verified database has more than 375,000 resources nationwide, with everything from disability services, crisis intervention, supportive housing, infant and child supplies, credit and debt counseling, and much more. The database also indicates which language services might be available. Having this breadth and flexibility is important, given the range of programs offered by UnitedHealthcare for the members served across the country. Having Healthify in their back pocket—literally or figuratively—gives UHC advocates a powerful tool to turn information into care.
“I love Healthify,” said Carolyn Leitner, who works with the Healthy First Steps program in Arizona. “I’ve helped pregnant homeless women find shelter. [I’ve helped] out of work bedridden pregnant women get help to pay bills and find food. I’ve helped others find utility assistance and help with diapers. Each and every time, the member has been shocked, excited and most of all grateful.”