KC Health Collaborative is a nonprofit organization working to use collaboration to improve health and healthcare value in the Kansas City region. The collaborative started in 2015 as a panel organized by Danette Wilson of BlueKC. The goal was to use collaboration to engage stakeholders involved in health and healthcare in the region in discussions about how to best meet the region’s health needs. 

In the fall of 2019, BlueKC wanted to make stakeholders themselves be those in control of how the collaboration would work. To make this the case, they brought in external facilitators to help guide the process. As this went on, participants began thinking about organizational and governance structures best suited to meet their goals. It has since been incorporated as a nonprofit organization, complete with a board of directors, in the state of Missouri. They are currently in the process of an executive director search. 

The Collaborative’s goal is to catalyze the efforts around collaboration already taking place in the region. The organization serves as a community table bringing together stakeholders like hospitals, patients, entrepreneurs, practitioners, researchers, clinicians, and more to help them identify their shared health and healthcare priorities. This helps plan and implement coordinated action in an efficient, cross-organizational way. 

For this collaboration catalyst role, the organization had to figure out balancing membership recruitment and the nonprofit maintenance work. To facilitate this balance they sought out founding partners committed to three years of funding. This provides the organization with stability in order to continue delivering value while attracting new members. 

The Collaborative determined two major areas in-need of collaboration: social determinants of health information and the immobility of health data. After the Coronavirus pandemic took hold, members evaluated whether these were still priorities and found that there was an even more urgent need for better data. 

Social determinants of health are important within social needs referral systems. These systems are important for addressing urgent health needs quickly and efficiently. Currently, purchasers and community-based organizations (CBOs) have little input in how these systems are designed. This means that providers may refer patients to CBOs for which they are ineligible, for example. This could be improved through better communication between providers, purchasers and CBOs. 

The health information exchange (HIE) ecosystem can be quite dysfunctional. There are multiple HIEs, none of which are equipped to receive information from all provider organizations. Moreover, some providers don’t report information at all, and some share information that is difficult to translate into another system. There is no rule requiring HIE participation, and there is insufficient funding for this to be done better. KC Health Collaborative will be able to research and share best practices from other regions. Also, it will use its catalyst role to facilitate communication across HIEs to develop a strategy with the input of multiple stakeholders. 

As are businesses of all kinds, KC Health Collaborative has responded to the pandemic. See their COVID-19 regional data for more information. 

View slides from this presentation hereMary Jo Condon, Senior Consultant at Freedman HealthCare, presented to KC Digital Drive’s Health Innovation Team on July 29, 2020. 

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