Stretch@KP Provides Quick Access to Resources in Urgent Times
Thrive Local's Story
As the novel coronavirus became a global pandemic, the strain it imposed on our members and communities was rapidly emerging. To help meet Kaiser Permanente members’ growing need for essentials like housing, food, transportation, childcare, financial assistance, and more, Thrive Local pivoted quickly to augment the social service resource directories it was building for each KP market with COVID-19-related relief services. They also focused on making the tool widely available for employees to use in helping members connect to much needed programs and support.
Thrive Local launched in 2019 as an enterprise initiative to provide KP staff with a searchable, online directory of local social services they could use to connect members to resources in their communities. The other component of Thrive Local is a series of participating health care and social service providers working together in each community to collaborate on a shared platform to make and accept referrals among each other to address social factors affecting people’s health and well-being.
With the rapid-fire change of short-term services popping up or facilities closing down as a result of the pandemic, the work required constant updates to ensure the directories listed services were still current and available.
Building out and deploying the resource directories and community networks was a multi-year implementation process. Suddenly, with COVID-19, the resource directories were needed in a matter of months or sooner. The Thrive Local team scrambled to figure out how they could quickly populate the resource directories with a broader set of social services and more COVID-19-specific resources in every KP market, and then to accelerate the deployment of the resource directories across the enterprise.
Populating the resource directories involved not only extensive social services research, identification, verification and onboarding, but also data entry and data validation. In addition, with the rapid-fire change of short-term services popping up or facilities closing down as a result of the pandemic, the work required constant updates to ensure the directories listed services were still current and available.
Kaiser Permanente did not have available resources at the ready to increase our research capacity to meet this new and pressing deadline. The team was working with an external partner to build out the directories, but the process was slow. The Thrive Local team was in urgent need of support and needed to fill multiple roles quickly, so they connected with Stretch@KP. The two teams collaborated to quickly determine the specific requirements and posted a project to recruit a pool of researchers. In addition, a new and streamlined process was implemented to efficiently secure enough Stretch@KP participants to develop the online resource directories augmented with COVID-19 related services.
The team added nearly 5,000 organizations to the directories across Kaiser’s 8 regions!
Together, Stretch@KP, Community Health, Thrive Local, and Workforce Health staffed the project within weeks. The process also allowed for continual recruitment over time to address the ever-changing landscape of available services in the various regions. The Thrive Local team was able to quickly recruit and work with enough employees through the Stretch@KP program to add over 2,000 organizations to the directories in just 3 months. Collectively, over the entire project, the team added nearly 5,000 organizations to the directories across Kaiser’s 8 regions! Thrive Local met its goals to publish the augmented directory within the new and aggressive timeline, and most importantly, equipped our frontline staff with a robust tool to help address the social factors impacting our patients' and members’ health.
Thrive Local National Director Jenn Frost said, “Thanks to Stretch@KP, we were able to get unanticipated work staffed quickly and make a significant contribution to the organization’s COVID-19 response. This was critical work, and we are tremendously grateful to the many employees who volunteered their time to make this happen.”
To date, the Thrive Local resource directories have been used to share nearly 60,000 community resources with members by text, phone, or email. (Staff are also referring members directly to community organizations on the Thrive Local platform as community networks continue being built out across our regions, but that is still a work in progress.) Meanwhile, the Thrive Local directories continue to be used by our frontlines, agents at the Thrive Local Connections call center, and by KP COVID-19 Household Prevention specialists, among others to help members.
“It was fulfilling to be able to contribute to something so essential to helping people cope with this unprecedented pandemic,” said Senior Learning Consultant and a Stretch@KP participant, Kevin Wong. “I was passionate about this project and know that my work provided reliable information that is being used to help patients’ with the daily essentials everyone needs to live healthy and full lives. I am typically a few degrees removed from providing care to members, and this project helped me be engaged and connected to KP’s mission of Total Health for its communities.”