All it took was a refrigerator.
It was a $6,000+ refrigerator, but it led to a breakthrough in western Colorado.
A woman appeared several weeks in a row at an ER in Delta County with her diabetes out-of-control. Each time, doctors treated and discharged her with medications. On the third visit, they asked why she was not able to control her diabetes with the medications prescribed. She responded, “It needs to be refrigerated. I don’t have a refrigerator.”
A small $80 refrigerator could have improved her quality of life and saved thousands of dollars in unnecessary healthcare expenses. The woman’s primary care doctor purchased a refrigerator for his patient, and her blood-sugar quickly stabilized with the prescribed medication. (Thanks, doc!)
This story and many others like it inspired our western Colorado health information exchange (HIE), Quality Health Network to guide a community-driven solution to tackle the tricky and multi-faceted problem of getting people the help they need quickly and efficiently.
Innovative thinking is in our blood, and after we created one of the nation’s first HIEs to make people’s medical records securely accessible whenever—and wherever—they need medical care, we realized that there is much more to a person’s health than just medical.
We wondered if there might be a way to incorporate the social determinants of health (SDoH) into a person’s health information to help healthcare providers understand people’s needs before they require expensive medical services.