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Linking Healthcare and Social Services Through HIT

December 30, 2011


On November 29, City of New Orleans’ Health Commissioner Dr. Karen DeSalvo and Crescent City Beacon Community Program (CCBC) at LPHI hosted a summit on linking Healthcare and Social Services via Information Technology. The summit, moderated by Dr. DeSalvo, was an opportunity to showcase the work being done at the state and city level to create Health Information Exchanges (HIEs), and to learn from the experiences of other communities on how that infrastructure can be integrated with other social services and behavioral health providers. The purpose of such efforts is to create a “no wrong door” system that gets individuals access to the care and services they need regardless of where they enter the system, minimizes duplication, and improves data collection.


The event, hosted at Children’s Hospital in New Orleans, a CCBC partner, was attended by over 30 senior leaders of organizations representing local, state and federal government, behavioral health providers, healthcare providers and payers and community groups. “The outcome I am looking for from this meeting is to spark dialogue and collaboration among those who are responsible for all the aspects of our community’s health,” said Health Commissioner Dr. DeSalvo. “With our successes in implementing information systems at both the state and local levels, we are now in a position to leverage that technology, not only to better coordinate the work of health and social services, but to better measure our work in order to improve it and make it more efficient.”


In addition to surveying the climate in Louisiana, the Integrated Care Collaboration of Central Texas (ICC) was on hand to give an overview of how their community collaborative has used their HIE and community partnerships  for over ten years and successfully integrated social services and behavioral health in addition to healthcare for underserved populations in Central Texas. Dr. Anjum Khurshid, Health Systems Director for Louisiana Public Health Institute and Director of the Crescent City Beacon Project stated “The ICC is a great model of what a community can accomplish by implementing meaningful technology solutions. As we implement health information technology in New Orleans in collaboration with our community partners, we hope to learn lessons from the ICC and other communities. We can build upon those lessons and would like to see New Orleans as a national model for successful HIT adoption by a community.”


After presentations by the ICC team and local leaders, Dr. DeSalvo led a question and answer session as the local organizations and ICC team discussed the similarities and differences between the two communities and the strengths unique to New Orleans that have the potential to speed adoption of new technologies and innovation.