Name of Innovative Program:
Health Care Liaison Program
Community Health Resources, Inc. (CHR)
Name of Innovative Program Lead:
E-mail Address of Innovative Program Lead:
The measure of our total health is a function of our engagement in it.Frank has bipolar disorder and is recovering from a history of alcohol abuse. He is receiving help for the diagnosed, but is persistently plagued by the latent. Frank is overweight, suffers from sleep apnea, hypertension, and a severe foot fungus. He is emblematic of a client in the system.As someone who works in the aerospace industry developing innovative solutions, I have been inspired by Community Health Resources’ (CHR) approach to problem solving. The Health Care Liaison program is symbolic of their culture of continuous improvement.Frank, meet CHR.With the tools and education he needs to invest in his well being, Frank will utilize existing CHR behavioral health services while on a path toward a robust preventative health care plan. CHR will benefit by developing a support network of individuals who are seasoned guides through the ins and outs of total healthcare. Experiences will be shared, success stories spread, and the spirits of families and communities lifted.The Health Care Liaison program puts challenges often overlooked front-and-center in a conversation between friends and neighbors, healthcare providers and their patients, Frank and his network of supporters.
Creativity and Innovation:
Sometimes the most difficult step toward a healthier lifestyle is understanding which step to take. This is amplified in individuals who are already battling behavioral health issues. At less than two years old, the Health Care Liaison program pairs an individual with a healthcare coach that can hold their hand, often literally, during the first few steps.Oftentimes in environments of constrained resources we are forced to innovate. We must learn to do more with less. However, when this is the rule rather than the exception it becomes harder to stand out. In the spirit of advancement and patient advocacy CHR recognized a gap in service and mobilized to fill it.Research has pointed to a symbiotic relationship between an individual’s physical and mental health. The Health Care Liaison program had taken a creative approach to formalizing this relationship at the individual level. This has paid dividends for clients.
The Health Care Liaison program inspires leadership in three areas: Those advocating for behavioral health resources, those providing behavioral healthcare resources, and those seeking behavioral health services.CHR has done something unique in their field by creating threads of advocacy in healthcare communities often disconnected with traditional behavioral health support structures. This new wave of inspired leadership understands the importance of physical and mental health in the total well being of a community.Those providing behavioral health resources have embraced the Health Care Liaison program. Patients who play an active role in defining their path to good health are able to better collaborate with their health care providers.Individuals, like Frank, seeking or receiving treatment can now learn to be the authors of their own healthy story. At the same time, they are teaching others to do the same, take the first step, and write the first page.
If paths to sustainability are proactively defined, long term success of a program or project is more certain. As an outside observer I can appreciate the already anticipated succession of this program. As a community advocate and member of the Development Committee I recognize the subject matter expert we have created in Frank. He is now someone who can assist in guiding others to the same health successes he has experienced.Sustainability of the Health Care Liaison program is inherent in its business model. Connecting mental and physical health in parallel provides increasing community and health network returns by decreasing the need for costly care in the long term. Support networks help unfamiliar or uncomfortable individuals navigate the particulars of health care. By reaching our collective hand out to someone like Frank we not only help an individual, but also the long term viability of the program itself.
Oftentimes the innovations we notice are the material. However, perhaps the most influential innovations have been the organizational and the personal. We may not be able to reach out and touch the Health Care Liaison program. We may not be able to buy it in a store or watch how it is made online, but we can certainly see its impact on individuals and communities.CHR has been not only recognized as a thought leader with respect to behavioral and mental health resources in central and eastern Connecticut, but also as a leader in taking action. Replication of this program is not only possible, but encouraged. Due to the presence in so many communities, relationships at the local level have facilitated the growth of this program across the CHR service area. There is endless potential, however, to highlight the ongoing lessons learned during this program across the broader healthcare community.
The Health Care Liaison program continues to exceed the expectations of its champions and clients.This innovation has connected 97% of its clients with a Primary Healthcare Provider and specialist for specific issues. The program has transformed clients into stakeholders in their health.This innovation has resulted in weight loss between 5-25 lbs. for 45% of the clients and lower blood pressure for 73% within the first six months. The program has transformed clients into healthy habit advocates.This innovation has resulted in a smoking cessation rate of 20% and overall improvement in the ability to handle healthcare needs. The program has transformed lives.Frank is now a client and a champion. His courage to take the first step was contagious. He is stakeholder in his own journey to a healthier and happier future and the Health Care Liaison program has allowed him to help others do the same.