Local information exchange advances in national competition

Dick Thompson

An information exchange designed to help those at risk and promote their well-being has been selected as a semifinalist in a national health innovation challenge.

The Quality Health Network based in Grand Junction announced its Community Resource Network is among five semifinalists in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Social Determinants of Health Innovation Challenge.

“We are thrilled that CRN is among the top five innovations in the country,” said Dick Thompson, executive director and chief executive officer of the Quality Health Network. “The CRN platform provides solutions to fill the gaps people face getting the help they need. Our community has been working for years to develop a collaborative system to reduce unnecessary duplication, improve the well-being of individuals and ultimately drive down the cost of health care for everyone across Western Colorado. We also believe this leading-edge technology can be scaled to be used in communities throughout the U.S.”

The innovation challenge seeks to find digital solutions that help health care providers and those at risk connect to services, including those that meet medical as well as behavioral and social needs. Addressing such needs as housing and food has been shown to improve health care outcomes and lower costs.

As a semifinalist, CRN receives $5,000 and advances to the second phase of the competition with a $50,000 prize.

The Quality Health Network helps participants exchange information to coordinate and improve health care. A joint venture of the  Quality Health Network and Stella Technology, CRN leverages the knowledge and assets of the health information exchange infrastructures.

“We’ve had one of the most successful health information exchange platforms in the country for more than a decade that has enabled better care for patients across our region,” Thompson said. “Incorporating social determinants of health into our purview made perfect sense. We are still in the infancy stages of the CRN. But as we prepare to launch phase one of our CRN pilot, we are excited about the depth of the system’s potential.”

Jeff Kuhr, executive director of Mesa County Public Health, said, “The establishment of the Community Resource Network gives us the opportunity to facilitate a whole-person approach to care and support and provide a robust directory and referral network of community resources that can be used to meet the needs of those we serve.”