Creating a Weave Out of Fragmented Threads: Utilizing Technology to Integrate Agencies’ Information for Better Health Outcomes

By Rupinder Mann and Cheryl Forchuk.

Published by Journal of Technologies in Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published Online: October 27, 2015 $US5.00

Mental health of an individual can be influenced by many personal, physical, social, cultural, or economic elements. Research shows that people with mental illness are over represented in the homeless population. Mental health conditions along with homelessness propagate more deterrents in accessing and supporting long-term housing and in addressing individual’s needs. To support such individuals, City of London has an inter-agency strategy to address homelessness called London CAReS. This strategy includes community agencies, shelters and safe havens that provide personal, social, housing, alcohol, drug addiction, distress, mental health and other treatment services. Nonetheless, these agencies are mostly working individually and inter-agency management of services is restricted to referrals or transfers of clients from one agency to another. Furthermore, the clients are provided certain shelter services only for a limited number of days. Once their time is up, they seek similar services from another agency, often using pseudonyms or “street names” rather than legal names, leading to duplicate records for the same individual under multiple names in multiple agencies. Lack of identification for the homeless clients and integration between agency systems is resulting in the lack of continuum of care. It is causing the homeless and mental health client population to go in circles instead of integrating into the community as a healthy, contributing citizen. This paper illustrates the proposed system for agencies and London hospitals’ mental health data integration and utilization of biometrics in order to coordinate care across the continuum. Furthermore, this integrated data will be pushed to clients’ personal health record to empower them to better manage their own health. This will not only create integration between agencies but also capacity to bring care providers, clinicians, researchers and clients together and yield insights to early intervention and improved client care and treatment.

Keywords: Mental Health, Personal Health Records, Biometrics, Mobile Technology, Web-based Technology

Journal of Technologies in Society, Volume 11, Issue 3, October 2015, pp.15-27. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published Online: October 27, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 530.521KB)).

Rupinder Mann

Project Manager, Research Data Management, Lawson Health Research Institute, London, ON, Canada

Dr. Cheryl Forchuk

Professor, School of Nursing, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada