Cedars-Sinai uses EHR to link vulnerable patients to social services

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Los Angeles-based Cedars-Sinai launched the Community Connect Program to use its EHR to link vulnerable patients to social services. 

The data will help providers know if patients are following through with community services referrals and keep social determinants of health data consolidated in one place, according to an Aug. 11 news release.

Six things to know:

  1. Community health workers will make home visits to help patients with phone calls to set up appointments. They will support patients from the health system's emergency department and several inpatient and outpatient units.

  2. "This is part of a broader Cedars-Sinai vision to truly care for the whole person," said Jonathan Schreiber, vice president of community engagement. "If someone comes into the emergency department, they may have a primary complaint. But while we are treating them, we may find out that there are other ways we can connect them to critical services and care that they may require to be healthy."

  3. Information collected on social determinants of health will be placed in patients' EHRs, so providers will know health-related social needs they may have. It will also improve interoperability because social workers, psychiatrists and case managers will have all the information consolidated into one location.

  4. An electronic connection is being added to the EHR, CS-Link, to assist patients and providers in finding social service agency referrals.

  5. A tool available to the public, CS Community Resource, was developed with a social care network to connect people with social services. Users will be able to seek out services in 10 categories: care, education, food, health, housing, goods, legal, money, transportation and work.

  6. The health system is also inking partnerships with service providers so that referrals can be made and tracked electronically. The EHR will be updated to show if a patient is following through with referrals and medical appointments.

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