More than a quarter of Richmond, VA’s residents live in poverty. Because many of them do not have health insurance, they rely on a variety of safety-net health services that are scattered across different organizations and difficult to enroll in. During the 2015 Fellowship, Code for America fellows partnered with the Richmond City Health District and City of Richmond to reimagine the application and eligibility screening process to connect patients more quickly and easily to critical health services.
On behalf of leaders across the Richmond region, we are thrilled to be working with CfA to integrate technology and innovation into our approach to improve healthcare access and utilization by our vulnerable populations. We have an unprecedented opportunity to bring together healthcare, philanthropy, the technology sector and government to engage our community residents in the design of a solution that will fundamentally change the way we interact with the healthcare system.”
Danny Avula, Deputy Director of the Richmond City Health Department
During the year, the team met with over 100 community members, including clinicians, social workers, community leaders, public servants, and patients who use and rely on safety-net health services. They also shadowed social workers and community health workers to better understand the end-to-end process of how patients apply for, enroll, and receive services.
From the research, the fellows saw how hard it was to keep track of the City’s various health services and determine eligibility for them. This frustration was felt by everyone involved: both for the users trying to receive care, as well as the social workers trying to connect patients to care. The fellows identified that technology could help make the first step of the journey easier for everyone involved. With this, the fellows focused on creating a more user-friendly and efficient experience for applications and eligibility screeners.
The fellows tested many different projects, but ultimately focused their time on developing Quickscreen, an eligibility screening tool that determines whether a patient is eligible for free or discounted care. While all service providers conduct their own eligibility screening, the patient information is always the same-- making the application process redundant and frustrating for patients. Quickscreen solves this problem by letting users upload basic patient information to a profile, and then use their profile to apply to numerous health care providers at once. For care providers, the tool allows them to spend less time processing screenings, and more time on the human elements of providing care services.
During the course of the fellowship, the fellows were able to work with seven different health agencies on designing the Quickscreen tool. This collaboration sparked a critical conversation about unified financial screening, and the broader role that technology can play in social services delivery. Government partners plan to continue exploring how the fellows' approach to redesigning eligibility screening could be applied to other aspects of strengthening their safety-net services.
Meet the team:
Team Leads: Andreas Addison, Chief Innovation Officer and Danny Avula, Deputy Director, Richmond City Health Department
Community Partners: Bon Secours, Richmond Memorial Health Foundation, VCU Health Systems, Jenkins Foundation, The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia