Hackensack using Epic-embedded tool to screen, refer patients for community resources

Hannah Mitchell - Print  | 

Edison, N.J.-based Hackensack Meridian Health partnered with the digital platform NowPow to provide patients with referrals to community resources.

The partnership's mission is to eliminate gaps in health outcomes based on race and socioeconomic status, according to an Aug. 12 news release. It will address social determinants of health, such as housing and food insecurity, transportation issues, and substance use disorder.

Four notes:

1. The referral platform links patients to local resources, such as food banks, transportation assistance and mental health support. The health system, which has 17 hospitals in the state, is partnering with local organizations to link vulnerable patients to external services.

2. Hackensack is utilizing NowPow's entire suite to create referrals in more than 100 languages that can be shared by email, print or text message. NowPow is integrated with Epic. Through Epic, it can connect referrals with a patient's EHR and receive a confirmation once those social services are delivered.

3. In the first few weeks of the launch, the program has screened more than 80,000 patients and has generated more than 21,000 referrals for community assistance. The health system's goal is to reach 1.2 million patients in its first year.

4. "It is essential for health networks to take a holistic approach to their patients' health and we are proud to partner with NowPow to help address the social needs impacting our communities," said Robert Garrett, CEO of Hackensack. "Our mission is to transform health care and part of this mission is creating innovative ways to bridge health equity gaps and ensure that all patients achieve their best health."

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