Beyond the Resource Guide: Part Two

By Steve Strauss on April 10, 2019

Steve Strauss



In the last part of this series, I explained why sending loosely-defined “referrals” to organizations without ensuring their capacity, reliability, or ability to collaborate is a dead end. (Read that post here.) Today, I want to discuss why a coordinated network model is essential to proving and improving outcomes.


Resource guides aren’t designed to get people to adopt into a fully collaborative network.


Let’s face it: using a resource guide-based tool is like having the first phone in a world full of pagers, while true network infrastructure is like a 4G LTE network that enables people to coordinate in real-time. In this day and age, we shouldn’t settle for slow, disjointed, or "cross my finger and hope this goes through" communications – this is even more vital when it comes to delivering services that may determine the quality of someone’s life.


There’s so much more to a coordinated care network than just a list of names. We know because we tried the resource guide approach and saw how inefficient it was. This was when we pivoted to network building with a real focus on community engagement. This way, the system revolves around the person seeking services rather than each individual organization. This way, there's always somebody at the other end of the referral.


Coordinated Care Networks: Part of a Comprehensive Solution


Why do you need a coordinated care network? To put it simply:

1. Network partners need to be meaningfully engaged in the network.
2. Every community is different and people change, so networks need to be flexible.
3. Learning and adjusting to a new infrastructure doesn’t happen overnight.


The bottom line is that you’re either using time, energy, and experience to compile a list or you’re using it to build real partnerships and set up coordinated systems. I’ll let you decide which strategy is more sustainable.


Your Work Matters. Own It.


Finally, we know that it’s more difficult to get organizations to adopt a resource guide-based tool with limited responsibility than it is to get them engaged with a real coordinated network. Why? A name on a list will always remain just that: a name on a list. Asking anything of that organization without creating any true value or efficiencies for them is a non-starter. Coordinated networks arm organizations with actionable data they didn't have access to before and create organizational efficiency by replacing manual processes. While on the surface, recruiting organizations into a coordinated network may sound like a bigger “ask,” by solving their own referral-making and follow-up problems, the truly coordinated network makes life easier for organizations across the continuum of care.


Service-providing organizations are all in the business of facilitating referrals and connecting to external services. By solving this problem across the whole care continuum rather than merely at the moment of discharge, we can onboard CBOs onto a common platform and leverage visibility into social service delivery.


To learn more about how Unite Us is coordinating care and improving health outcomes across the country:

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