Improving Health and Human Services: It’s About Making Connections

By Daniel Stein, President, Stewards of Change Institute | Co-P.I., National Interoperability Collaborative

The 11th Annual Connected Health Conference | October 16-18 | Boston, MA

The 11th Annual Connected Health ConferenceWhen I first saw the title of this week’s Connected Health Conference, “Designing for Healthy Habits and Better Outcomes,” I was delighted. After all, Stewards of Change Institute (SOCI) has been working for over 15 years to bridge the silos that historically have separated the numerous sectors and systems that contribute to everyone’s health and well-being. So the event’s title signaled that leading organizations in our country clearly “get” that it’s essential to infuse their work with factors and considerations other than healthcare.

Specifically, designing “healthy habits” entails taking into account how and where people spend their time. And achieving “better outcomes” necessarily means incorporating the social determinants of health and well-being (where we live, work, play and pray), since they constitute 80 percent of contributing factors to overall health. In other words, the event’s title is yet more evidence – along with the growing number of interoperability and information-sharing projects across our country – that the walls are indeed crumbling, and that’s very good news indeed.

I’m very proud of the positive role we have played in getting us to this point, often as a result of support from the Kresge Foundation. Indeed, it’s becoming increasingly commonplace to see professionals at all levels working to make the vital connections about the “domains” that impact us all (health, human services, healthcare, public health, education, the courts, etc.). And, for a few reasons, I’m especially looking forward to participating in the upcoming Connected Health Conference.

First and foremost, that’s because it’s heartening and inspiring to see progress being made with one’s own eyes, and the CHC agenda reflects that it’s really happening. Second, it’s always energizing to spend time with and learning from colleagues – such as those in the Healthcare Information Management and Systems Society (HIMSS), which is a strategic partner of SOCI.

The Interoperability Mural Gallery

About the Gallery

Finally, all of us at Stewards of Change Institute are excited that we’ll be presenting our new Interoperability Mural Gallery for just the third time, after successful showings – again, with Kresge support – at two other major national events this year. Those were the Community Information Exchange Summit in San Diego and the Medicaid Enterprise Systems Conference in Chicago.

The two dozen murals we’ll be displaying at the Connected Health Conference represent a sampling of the hundreds that we’ve created over the years at Stewards symposia, trainings, strategic planning sessions and other events over the years. Together, in a way that we believe cannot be found anywhere else (and certainly not in as vivid a way), they essentially chronicle the history of interoperability’s path, the issues it encompasses, the successes and challenges it has faced over time, and offer a vision of the future moving into the next decade.

Most pointedly, these vivid graphic illustrations compose a first-of-its-kind exhibit designed to capture and expedite learning; to highlight key ideas relating to interoperability, information-sharing and collaboration; and to stimulate discussion across programs and domains. We hope and believe that the gallery will do all of those things at this week’s conference in Boston. Please attend if you can and, if you do, stop by to tour the gallery or follow our updates on Twitter. I feel confident that, in these captivating pieces of art, you’ll see all the connections come together.

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