When Usha Chulliyil, RN, and her team at Kaiser Permanente Modesto began searching for a lift chair for 84-year-old Rosario Campusano last winter, they tried a new tool and got surprising results.
They used Thrive Local, Kaiser Permanente’s tool for connecting members to community-based programs and resources.
Campusano, with chronic lung disease, heart failure, and 2 failing knees, was a good candidate for the motorized chair that would help her get up or down from a seated or standing position. The long-time Kaiser Permanente member and great-grandmother was also having difficulty lying flat in bed. The chairs are comfortable for sleeping, but they can be expensive. And Campusano’s family couldn’t afford one.
In the past, Chulliyil and her team had used Thrive Local to help connect members to resources such as food, medical equipment, and transportation. A lift chair seemed like a long shot.
Resource directory, referrals for service, and more
Thrive Local includes an online directory of available community-based programs and services — plus access to a network of organizations that accept electronic referrals for services. The tool provides real-time status updates on referrals, so KP providers can track whether members and patients receive the support they need.
Kaiser Permanente partnered with the technology company Unite Us to launch Thrive Local in Northern California over the last 12 months. It will be fully activated throughout the region by February 2022.
“Thrive Local helps employees to easily connect our members and patients to services that meet their non-medical needs and track what happens next,” said Yvette Radford, vice president, External and Community Affairs, Kaiser Permanente Northern California. “By establishing these community referral networks with other health systems, government agencies, and community partners, Thrive Local will both improve lives and strengthen communities.”
Thrive Local comes through for the Campusanos
With the help of Thrive Local, Rosario Campusano was connected to the nonprofit Society for disABILITIES in Modesto, which loaned the family a lift chair with only a small delivery fee.
“The chair is making a big difference in my mom’s health and quality of life,” said Campusano’s daughter Dina Hernandez. “It’s taken away some of the pain, pressure, and stress off her legs and heart, and I feel better knowing she is safe and comfortable.”
Chulliyil said her team is often surprised by how Thrive Local can help.
“In the past, we had a limited set of organizations that we could contact, and we sometimes ran out of options for members,” said Chulliyil, clinical director for Care Without Delay at Kaiser Permanente Modesto. “With Thrive Local, we can customize referrals to meet individual needs, put it out on the platform, and we’re finding there are so many resources we didn’t know about.”
“As a nonprofit, we can’t afford to market like we’d like to,” said Cathy Mendoza, executive director for Society for disABILITIES. “Joining Thrive Local enables us to serve as many people as possible, efficiently.”
Addressing social factors to improve health
Kaiser Permanente began launching Thrive Local in phases in 2019 as part of its commitment to address the social factors that affect people’s health.
“Having access to high-quality medical care is important, but we know that social factors such as having a safe place to live, healthy food to eat, and access to reliable transportation can have a dramatic impact on people’s health,” said Phil Chuang, senior vice president, Clinical Services, Kaiser Permanente Northern California.
A 2020 Kaiser Permanente survey found 63% of Northern California members had at least one unmet social need.
“Social needs are a significant barrier to health during the pandemic and they will continue to be,” said Steve Parodi, MD, associate executive director, The Permanente Medical Group. “With the help of Thrive Local, we’re systematically addressing the social health issues of our members to improve health outcomes.”
The Thrive Local resource directory will be available on kp.org later this month. Additionally, members may contact the Thrive Local Connections call center at 1-800-443-6328 for assistance Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.