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Given the geographic, economic, and social disparities in LA County, meeting the needs of our residents is a huge challenge. After all, L.A. County's healthcare systems serve more people than any other place in America. When the newly insured enter the system, experts agree they will bring with them significant health needs and social circumstances that will make it especially difficult to take full advantage of healthcare services. This population is often treated at clinics where caseloads are high, funding is minimal, and compensation is restricted to face-to-face services only. On top of that, a shortage of primary-care doctors in these communities already makes it more difficult to help patients achieve optimal health.
Fortunately, these challenges offer an opportunity to cultivate innovative solutions that enhance the healthy connections between clinics and the populations they serve, and which will forge partnerships with the power to systematically improve care for everyone in Los Angeles.
While there are many promising political, economic, and social initiatives underway to create a more equitable and effective healthcare system in the county, we cannot allow the connection between healthcare providers and their patients to be the weak link. Specifically, primary care practices are already struggling to serve people with complex chronic conditions in proactive, comprehensive, and effect ways, and if they don't have the tools to rise to the occasion, access to care will matter little.
Among the most promising advances in clinical care is the emergence of physician-led interdisciplinary "care teams" that flesh out the "medical home" approach to managing patient populations. Care teams of community-based healthcare workers complement the expertise of MDs in ways that address the physician shortage while improving care and driving down costs. These teams permit a more comprehensive approach to patient needs while boosting the number of patients a practice can manage.
But how can Los Angeles increase the effectiveness of care teams at scale, thus expanding access to high-value care as the patient population expands?
We believe that Lybba's OPENHealth Central is a fundamental pathway toward a healthier L.A in 2050. OPENHealth Central is a web- and mobile-based system that helps clinical care teams better manage the health needs of patients with complex and costly chronic conditions, while prompting patients to collect the kinds of information between visits that can dramatically improve their care and the system as a whole.
OPENHealth Central is an open-source software service whose purpose is to put the 'care' back into the healthcare system. It helps doctors and patients plan for visits more effectively, track experiences between visits, boost the quality of care and self-care, and provide the psychological support that comes from a rich human feedback loop. The system triggers action on the part of doctors, while also collecting data that drives evidence-based improvement in patient care, population health, and healthcare costs.