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HealthInfonet Awarded Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Grant

February 26, 2016

Bangor, ME – HealthInfoNet has been selected by DASH -- Data Across Sectors for Health -- as one of ten grantees to implement projects that improve health through multi-sector data sharing collaborations. DASH is a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation’s largest philanthropy focused exclusively on health and health care.
Experts say that while most communities have some access to data from public health and health care systems, they lack important information on social determinants, such as transportation, housing, education and social services. These factors play a major role in contributing to individual and community health and wellbeing.
     “Sharing data across sectors narrows knowledge gaps, increases collaboration, and ultimately improves community health, said Shaun Alfreds, COO, HealthInfoNet. “In order for our community to see better health outcomes, we need more comprehensive data – including data that sheds light on the social determinants beyond clinical health care that influence our health.”   
     The work of HealthInfoNet would not be possible without the joint efforts of the various sectors in our community. As part of this grant, we will be collaborating with Community Care Partnership of Maine, an Accountable Care Organization composed of four Critical Access Hospitals, seven Federally Qualified Health Centers, working collaboratively with two Community Action Programs in southern and Northern Maine to guarantee that Maine residents have access to and are receiving the most appropriate community level supports – health and social – that will improve community, social and physical wellness.“Penquis, a Community Action Agency serving Penobscot and Piscataquis and Knox counties is thrilled to be a part of this exciting project. We recognize the importance of better understanding the impact that unreliable transportation, inadequate and unsafe housing, lack of access to education, and poverty have on the health and wellbeing of our community members, states Kara Hay, CEO.  We look forward to providing much needed social determinant data that can help us better understand and then respond to the impact of these factors on health.”  
     DASH grantees will identify and test innovative practices that foster collaboration, engage across sectors and build robust data and information systems to increase capacity of organizations to improve health in their communities. HealthInfoNet plans to incorporate electronic health record (EHR) data from members of the the Community Care Partnership of Maine and leveraging the HIE and real-time predictive analytics system. The integrated predicative analytics will allow the practice sites to identify patients needing care management and community supports and bring significantly greater collaboration amongst the health care and social service agencies. Multi-year grants were awarded in January, 2016 and will run through July, 2017.

     “Data sharing across sectors increases the capacity of collaborations to understand the health of their community. When communities incorporate social determinant, clinical and public health data, they have more detailed information to make better decisions about programs and policies that affect health outcomes,” said Peter Eckart of the Illinois Public Health Institute, which administers DASH.“Without collaboration between government and private and public organizations—including organizations that aren’t traditionally thought of in terms of health, we cannot have an accurate understanding of community health.”

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. We are striving to build a national Culture of Health that will enable all to live longer, healthier lives now and for generations to come. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org. Follow the Foundation on Twitter at www.rwjf.org/twitter or on Facebook at www.rwjf.org/facebook.

About Data Across Sectors for Health
As part of its multi-sector data and information system focus, RWJF launched DASH. DASH aims to identify barriers, opportunities, promising practices and indicators of progress for multi-sector collaborations to connect information systems and share data for community health improvement. The DASH National Program Office (NPO), led by the Illinois Public Health Institute (IPHI) in partnership with the Michigan Public Health Institute (MPHI) and with support from the Foundation, is responsible for leading DASH. To learn more, visit www.DASHconnect.org or follow us at @DASH_connect.

About HealthInfoNet
HealthInfoNet is an independent, nonprofit organization using health information technology to improve patient care quality and safety. The organization’s core service line is the management of a secure computer system, called a health information exchange, for doctors, hospitals and other caregivers to share important health information and improve patient care. The organization also serves as the Maine Regional Extension Center, helping primary care providers adopt and effectively use electronic health records. The organization is based in Portland, Maine and serves healthcare providers and their patients statewide.

About Penquis
Penquis is a 501(c)(3) private, nonprofit organization. Incorporated in 1967, Penquis was created as a result of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 to bring locally developed solutions to the multifaceted problems faced by the poor. Penquis mission is to assist individuals and families in preventing, reducing, or eliminating poverty in their lives and, through partnerships, to engage the community in addressing economic and social needs. Penquis primarily serves low- and moderate-income individuals in Penobscot, Piscataquis, and Knox Counties

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