How a Minneapolis hospital keeps patients healthy through innovation

The Upstream Health Innovations center affiliated with Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis is looking at social issues as a factor in its quest to reduce readmissions, reports Becker's Health IT & CIO Review.

With its name, it's referring to its quest to keep consumers to stay healthy and out of the downstream flow or river of the healthcare system.

It's a tactic being used by Aurora Sinai Medical Center in Milwaukee, Lehigh Valley Health Network and Kaiser Permanente. One recent study linked food insecurity with frequent hospitalization.

Part of the process to give patients information and solutions to social issues includes adding a note the electonic health record that IDs obstacles patients face, which in turn helps with care intervention, according to the article. 

"[We wanted to] focus on access and disparities, looking at the social determinants that influence whether patients or citizens of Hennepin County and beyond can even [address] their healthcare issues because they're focused on getting a job, finding shelter, finding food, trying to recover from substance abuse and the like," says Chip Truwit, M.D., chief of radiology and chief innovation officer at HCMC.

Susan Jepson, vice president of innovation at Upstream Health Innovation adds that the innovations at the facility should be seen as "service design" made to align resources to help end users. are system.

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