By Cassie Hobbs
MD Candidate, Duke University School of Medicine
What is NCCARE360?
Access to care was identified as the number two health priority among Durham residents in the 2017 Community Health Assessment, a close second behind affordable housing. Additionally, almost half of Durham residents said that obesity, diabetes, and food access were top concerns in their communities.
NCCARE360 is the first statewide network that unites health care and human services organizations with a shared technology that enables a coordinated, community-oriented, person-centered approach for delivering care in North Carolina. This network will allow medical providers and community organizations to connect members of the community to healthcare and social resources through a simple, online referral service. The platform includes a large resource database including a growing list of over 450 public and private partnerships, to help those who need help with housing, jobs, food, and healthcare . The platform also allows the referrer to track outcomes, decreasing the number of individuals lost to follow-up in the referral process.
NCCARE360 is the result of a strong public-private partnership between the NC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation (FHLI). The NCCARE360 implementation team includes United Way of NC/2-1-1, Expound Decision Systems, and Unite Us. This solution ensures accountability for services delivered, provides a “no wrong door” approach, closes the loop on every referral made, and reports outcomes of that connection. NCCARE360 will be available in all 100 counties by the end of 2020, statewide in North Carolina.
Expected Benefits and Outcomes
Georgina Dukes, the State Project Manager of NCCARE360 at Unite Us is excited about the launch of NCCARE360 in Durham as the program has already shown promise in other North Carolina counties.
She reflects fondly on the first referral using the NCCARE360 Network from Wake County: “A mother of three walked into bible study at her church requesting prayer for her family as she had just lost her job. The church clergy members were partnered with NCCARE360 and used the Unite Us Platform to send out a referral to an employment agency. The referral was accepted the next day by 9am.”
Ms. Dukes goes on to explain that she expects to see reduction in hospital readmission and Emergency room utilizations by connecting individuals with healthcare resources before their issues become critical.
Ann Oschel of Behavioral Health Alliance is similarly enthused for the roll-out of NCCARE360 in Durham County. She explains, “the centralized location and capacity of the NCCARE360 network will be beneficial in connecting community members with the resources that they need to stay healthy. The Unite Us platform eliminates the guess work in determining if an individual’s needs were actually met.”
How are organizations selected to be partners?
The selection of partners for NCCARE360 begins with a meeting with leaders and influencers within the local community who are passionate about changing the landscape of healthcare. These influencers recruit community organizations to be included in the NCCARE360 Network as partners. Other community organizations interested in partnering with NCCARE360 can visit http://www.NCCARE360.org/join/ for more information on how to be included on the platform. Selected community organizations then complete a registration form and Unite Us software training and begin coordinating care in the community.
How can I use NCCARE360?
Durham County residents can utilize NCCARE360 by requesting assistance through one of NCCARE360’s partners, visiting the website www.NCCARE360.org or by calling 2-1-1.
Visiting www.NCCARE360.org or calling 2-1-1 will connect community members with a NCCARE360 Navigator powered by NC 2-1-1 who can send a referral on their behalf to connect the community member to resources.
About the Author: Cassie Hobbs is a graduate of Florida A&M University and a current fourth-year medical student at Duke University School of Medicine. She is dedicated to reducing the prevalence of health disparities, committed to serving her community, and determined to increase awareness of the needs of diverse patient populations. Cassie plans to enter the field of OB/GYN with a primary focus on fertility.