Community Health Center Network taps Welkin Health to bring digital tools to underserved populations

By Heather Mack
05:23 pm
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As part of an initiative from Health 2.0’s Technology for Healthy Communities, a Medi-Cal managed care organization will get an infusion of digital health tools to better serve their at-risk community.

The San Leandro-based Community Health Center Network is partnering with San Francisco-based Welkin Health, which specializes in patient relationship management through messaging services and workflow organization. Announced at Health 2.0 in Santa Clara, the partnership will work to develop a case management platform to leverage the success of CHCN’s Care Neighborhood Program, a comprehensive outreach program supporting the at-risk populations in the East Bay Area.

The platform will launch at three CHCN health centers in Alameda county with a goal to eventually expand to support Care Neighborhood Programs at all eight health centers that are members of the network. The partnership through Health 2.0’s Technology for Health Communities connects underserved communities with digital health innovators to develop projects that aim to improve health outcomes for vulnerable populations. Rather than fundamentally change what CHCN is doing, the Welkin partnership will just update how they do it.

“The effectiveness of our Care Neighborhood program is rooted in our ability to successfully connect and follow up with patients,” Rajib Ghosh, chief data and transformation Officer for CHCN said in a statement. “Up to this point, the program’s CHWs have relied on phone calls and in-person visits, all inputted and tracked via a preliminary prototype system, to engage patients.”

The Welkin platform will also enable community health workers to remotely monitor patients with ongoing health issues and help with medication adherence, diet and exercise plans.

Chase Hensel, CEO of Welkin, said the configurable abilities of the Welkin platform made it possible to design the technology to meet the specific needs of the Care Neighborhood Program, whose needs are complex due to social determinants beyond their control. The partnership will not only maximize patient outreach but also supportive, personalized workflow for the clinic employees. The program can integrate with the clinic EHRs and claims database.

“On a really simple level, it replaces the spreadsheets they had been using just to see how their approach would work in the first place,” Hensel told MobiHealthNews. “Once they got this far, it became pretty clear that the Excel they were using wasn’t enough.”

Hensel said the pairing was natural, as Welkin focuses on intelligent pathways to longitudinal collective care.

“They have good data, and now they can use it with an interface that supports more communication pathways and a streamlined workflow, and they can capture more data about this population that will lead to long-term health outcome improvement,” he said.