When health care providers cannot efficiently share health information – when they do not have a complete health history or understanding of the whole patient, including the social determinants of each individual’s health – care suffers. This is a particularly acute concern for low-income and uninsured individuals, who often have limited and inconsistent access to care, which causes information gaps that can compromise clinical decisions, as well as planning and policy efforts aimed at more efficiently delivering care to these individuals and families.

In December 2016, concerns about such gaps resulted in the John Muir/Mt. Diablo Community Health Fund (CHF) awarding the Contra Costa & Solano Community Clinic Consortium a $123,000 grant to enhance data sharing capacity among local community health centers and hospitals who are part of Contra Costa CARES – a partnership between Contra Costa Health Services, community health centers and hospitals to meet the needs of uninsured and undocumented individuals.

The grant supports the first year of a three-year plan aimed at strengthening the Consortium’s data sharing infrastructure. This, in turn, will support data collection and analysis for Contra Costa CARES. Expected outcomes for Phase One include:

  • Adoption and implementation of a HIPAA compliant collaborative electronic file sharing platform
  • Development and implementation of data sharing policies and protocols, trainings, workflows and ongoing technical assistance for CARES partners
  • Creation of a financial incentive program for CARES partners to supply timely data via the new data infrastructure
  • La Clínica’s development of an infrastructure at its Monument clinic, which will include a screening tool for the social determinants of health. The tool is part of preparation for a Phase Two implementation in 2018