SMCHD is the local health department for St. Mary’s County, Maryland, a jurisdiction of about 115,000 residents in southern Maryland. Much like many local health departments, the COVID-19 pandemic stretched staff and time resources to levels never thought possible.
At the onset of the pandemic, WellCheck built a customized screening pathway for essential workers and first responders, broadcasted via email and text message, then verified vaccination status. Upon successful verification, employees and residents were issued a Digital Health Pass for accessing buildings and to show proof of vaccination when needed. Below is just a sample of solutions that WellCheck has developed during our partnership with SMCHD.
Given the county’s location and it’s relatively large size, the uptake and referral to services has been suboptimal regarding community member utilization of evidence-informed or evidence-based practices in health and human services, referrals completed to community providers, and awareness of services from both community members and community sector providers.
SMCHD has also faced challenges with acquiring and sustaining funding due to difficulties demonstrating outcomes from services provided. The Digital Hub was established to not only address issues regarding uptake and awareness of services, but the platform has overhauled how SMCHD completes referrals. SMCHD now has the ability to use a digital referral platform that starts with a SDoH assessment, which is amenable for use by community health outreach workers, partner organizations, and self-referrals.
The Digital Hub will then connect the user with a variety of health department and community-based services depending on the needs indicated.
The establishment of the Digital Hub platform has increased the utilization of health department and community services. In addition it has allowed more effective collection of data as it relates to demonstrating service outcomes. Due to the closed loop referral system the referral completion rate has increased along with resident and provider satisfaction. Primary care providers have also begun utilizing the platform, further bridging the gap between patient and provider.