Pennsylvania Launches Social Care Network Referral Tool

Jan. 26, 2024
PA Navigate’s primary goal is to boost communication between health systems and social services agencies to improve follow-through on referrals

State governments and health information exchanges continue to invest in tools to connect health systems and community-based organizations. A newly launched online tool connects healthcare providers in Pennsylvanians with county and state agencies, as well as other community resources.

PA Navigate also allows individuals to refer themselves for services and facilitates greater connection and communication between healthcare providers and organizations that serve shared populations, the Commonwealth said.

PA Navigate is a collaborative effort among health information organizations (HIOs) and brings together multiple state agencies, counties, local nonprofits and community organizations, healthcare entities, and social services providers. HIOs participating in the project include ClinicalConnect HIE, Central PA Connect HIE, HealthShare Exchange, and the Keystone HIE.

 In September 2023, Austin, Texas-based findhelp was chosen as the PA Navigate platform. 

"We selected findhelp as our technology partner for PA Navigate because they have the best integration capabilities in this space and are the technology that many healthcare organizations in our state have chosen to work with," said Bill Marella, Vice President, Value Based Care and Data Analytics of HealthShare Exchange in a statement.

Existing findhelp customers in Pennsylvania include Penn Medicine, Geisinger, Lehigh Valley Health Network, AmeriHealth Caritas, PA Health and Wellness, and Highmark Health.

“PA Navigate is a groundbreaking resource that will enable greater collaboration between healthcare and social services organizations by allowing them to more easily and effectively work together to treat and support the whole person,” said Department of Health Services Secretary Val Arkoosh, M.D., M.P.H., in a statement “A person’s individual situation is complex, and factors like poverty, lack of stable housing, and food insecurity often impact an individual’s or family’s health. We must consider the whole person when delivering healthcare, and no one provider or community-based organization can help someone fully address all their needs. PA Navigate will help by making it easier for health and service providers to coordinate and collaborate, easing barriers to care and improving health outcomes, to provide a better quality of life for all Pennsylvanians.”

Through a shared platform, healthcare providers and social services organizations can track client referrals and better understand and assist with a client’s individual needs, helping them access services and supports. The system will also allow healthcare and service providers to assess an individual’s needs during a physician’s office or emergency department visit, when receiving case management services, or seeking assistance from a community-based organization.

The tool also will gather data that can help the Commonwealth and its partners better understand health and social services needs of Pennsylvanians and identify service gaps or opportunities for better support across the state. By looking at critical social determinants of health, including employment, child care, transportation, food security, access to healthcare, and housing stability, Commonwealth agencies and partners at the county and local level can help Pennsylvanians achieve better long-term health outcomes.

“Since findhelp’s inception, we have had a mission to connect all people in need to the programs that serve them with dignity and ease,” said Erine Gray, findhelp founder and CEO, in a statement. “It is refreshing to be aligned with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Health Information Organizations (HIOs) in that mission. While valuable data will flow through the platform, PA Navigate will also ensure that every Pennsylvanian has the opportunity to get the help they need by simply entering their ZIP Code.”


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