“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement and success have no meaning.” – Benjamin Franklin
The founders of Stewards of Change (including yours truly) didn’t know about that Benjamin Franklin quote when we launched our startup in 2004; intuitively, however, those words formed the guideposts for the journey we embarked upon. Today, I’m very proud to say that our nonprofit Institute (SOCI) is indeed growing and progressing in ways that make me hopeful not only for the future of the organization but, much more importantly, for genuine improvement, achievement and success in the expanding body of work we are doing and – most of all – in the lives of the people and communities we serve.
With that introduction and fittingly, as National Health IT Week begins, here’s a glimpse at just some of what we’re currently doing and planning:
- First, I’m delighted to announce that SOCI has received a generous grant from the Heising-Simons Foundation to conduct a scan of information-sharing and interoperability initiatives across California, of course including ones that relate to health IT. This ambitious project aims to advance cross-domain collaboration, coordination and the responsible sharing and use of integrated data throughout the state over the next 10 years. We extend our sincere gratitude to the Foundation for the opportunity to contribute to its important mission.
SOCI will lay the groundwork for its work on this project by focusing initially on building a California Library for Interoperability Knowledge (CLIK), an extensive, “real time” data base. Our work will be congruent with and explicitly contribute to Heising-Simons’ objectives relating to decreasing early educational disparities by 2044 for children aged 0-8. The scan itself will identify key data elements, technologies and systems that enable/inhibit local jurisdictions from providing comprehensive, integrated care for the youngest, most-vulnerable children.
- We’re continuing to forge relationships with important and impactful local, regional and national organizations in order to further our mission and our work. So here’s some more news: We have just signed an MOU to collaborate in a variety of ways with the Healthcare Information Management and Systems Society (HIMSS), a large and highly effective organization whose numerous initiatives include spearheading National Health IT Week.
Our joint efforts will center on identifying solutions and best practices focused on delivering high-quality, person-centered care. We plan to pursue/achieve that goal by bringing SOCI’s social and human services experience to the relationship in order to increase the awareness and integration of the Social Determinants of Health and Well-Being and 2Gen practices into Health Care IT.
- We’re also continuing to build the National Interoperability Collaborative (NIC), the most-ambitious initiative SOCI has ever undertaken. Our latest efforts under the NIC umbrella include the creation of a New England chapter, modeled on how we have been forming a California chapter during the past year. Simultaneously, with our leadership partner AcademyHealth, we are scaling the NIC initiative with projects, partnerships and other activities around the country. Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how to participate in our work.
The first step for growing NIC in New England is emulating how we started in California: We’re organizing an invitation-only convening of senior officials, thought-leaders, luminaries and subject-matter experts so we can teach, learn and move forward in as informed a manner as possible. “A Symposium in the NIC of Time: Moving Upstream to Improve Health and Well-Being” will take place in Connecticut in late November. Keep an eye on www.nic-us.org to learn more.
There’s much more, from my own participation in a Health IT event in Baton Rouge tomorrow (thanks to the Louisiana HIMSS chapter for the invitation); to a unique NIC Opioid Prevention Playbook that we’re planning to publish in a few months; to a national conference we’re planning in partnership with 211 San Diego for next April. But that’s enough for now.
Needless to say, it’s an exciting time for SOCI, but we also respect that challenges come with opportunity. Our commitment is to keep working to surmount those challenges because we deeply believe in our mission and on the benefits of our work, especially for the most-vulnerable and least-served among us. In short, we want to ensure that Benjamin Franklin’s words really do have meaning.