As part of Akron Children’s Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) model, providers screen patients and families at annual well visits for things like food and housing insecurity, safety, and lack of transportation or childcare (also known as social determinants to health) that can impact a child’s overall physical and emotional health.
“Our providers see patients and families from nearly every Ohio county at our 2 hospital campuses and more than 60 primary, specialty and urgent care locations. So we needed to find a way to help them connect individuals and families to critical community services in their geographic region,” said Dr. Davidson. “That’s when we decided to find a tool that could help us keep those resource listings up-to-date and develop our own system.”
Called MyLocalLink, this online community service database is available to all Akron Children’s employees, care providers and the general public.
“Those who sign in can save and share local programs, connect directly to community services, make notes within listings and suggest changes or updates to program descriptions,” said Dr. Davidson. “For our patient families, it’s a way to get connected to the local resources they need most. For our social workers and other patient care providers, it’s a means of sharing institutional knowledge. I liken it to leaving a post-it note in a file, but it’s more efficient and less likely to get buried or lost.”
Dr. Davidson says the reason Akron Children’s chose to work with the parent company behind MyLocalLink is because they have the staff and resources to keep the listing updated for our providers and our patient families. Also, the hospital will be able to use data regarding service utilization and gaps to target specific high need issues and better address social determinants of health in the communities that Akron Children’s serves.
“If a program is missing, or the hours listed are incorrect, providers can email the company and ask to have the program added or updated,” said Dr. Davidson. “We are giving our practices and providers ownership because they know their communities and their patient families the best.”
“Many of the services and programs in MyLocalLink are free or reduced cost, although some have eligibility criteria,” said Dr. Davidson. “Anyone can search MyLocalLink for free and find resources and services close to home without providing any personal information.”
Providers and families can expect to see links to resources for things like food, housing, legal aid, public benefits, education and jobs searchable by zip code.
“Healthy families lead to healthier kids,” said Dr. Davidson. “Through MyLocalLink we are working to strengthen the health of local families by offering a trusted place online where people can find and access the resources they need to help improve their quality of life.”
Patient families and community members can use MyLocalLink to find community-based programs, social services and resources in their neighborhoods anytime by visiting akronchildrens.org/MyLocalLink.