PERSONAL HEALTH RECORD TECHNOLOGY MADE AVAILABLE TO FOSTER YOUTH
Technology companies AltruIT and FollowMe help deliver HealthShack, giving foster youth access to vital medical records electronically
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 12, 2012
(SAN FRANCISCO) -Most young people’s parents keep track of their medical records and health history, helping provide their children with consistent and safe medical care over time. Foster youth often do not share in this benefit. Because foster youth tend to live in many places, attend many schools and see many different doctors over time, keeping track of their own personal health information can be difficult or even impossible. Some pitfalls of incomplete medical records include foster youth receiving repeated immunizations, having allergic reactions to medications, and being given unnecessary medical tests.
Technology companies AltruIT and FollowMe are teaming up to offer an innovative product called HealthShack. HealthShack is a personal health record system that allows young people to electronically upload and store their personal and medical information in one place. HealthShack was created with the help of FollowMe by adapting the technology company’s existing personal health record software to make it relevant for young adults in foster care or facing homelessness. Launched as a pilot in 2009, HealthShack was created through a partnership of youth, physicians, community organizations and universities.
“HealthShack offers foster youth the opportunity, with our support, to engage in creating and managing their own medical and personal electronic record,” states Vernon Brown, CEO of Aspiranet, an agency that provides foster care and adoption services across California. “A product like HealthShack is particularly important for foster youth transitioning out of the foster care system into adulthood. In today’s world, you need to be able to control and have access to your own data. HealthShack does that in a manner not presently available to young people in foster care. We are excited to be working with AltruIT and FollowMe in implementing HealthShack into our practice at Aspiranet.”
Aspiranet will be one of the first large clients to implement HealthShack under the direction of AltruIT, FollowMe, and Cynthia Solomon, HealthShack’s founder. Aspiranet will use the product for approximately 800 foster youth who are transitioning out of foster care and into a “transitional care” program, which helps youth build a bridge out of foster care and into the world of work. Aspiranet will also use HealthShack with other populations it serves, including clients in their foster care and support services programs. One benefit of this implementation is that Aspiranet will evaluate the use experience and provide feedback to enhance the HealthShack product.
HealthShack will also be offered to government and human service agencies, as well as non-profits, to reach a wider audience of children and youth in foster care in California, and ultimately to the population across the United States. AltruIT plans to build out HealthShack’s capabilities to make the product available on mobile devices and provide electronic links to caregivers, vendors and other stakeholders in the foster care system. Aside from utilizing HealthShack to benefit foster youth on a national level, the IT company sets its sights on expanding the program beyond health care.
“Ultimately, HealthShack will serve as a holistic,electronic care record,” explains Barbara Sorensen, CEO of AltruIT. “It will extend beyond health to act as a repository for information related to education, employment, housing and all critical elements of self-reliance that contribute to a young adult’s ability to lead a successful life once they leave the foster care system.”
For more information about HealthShack, visit www.AltruIT.com
AltruIT is a social enterprise providing IT services and solutions to nonprofit organizations and government agencies in the Human Services sector. AltruIT has experience and deep expertise in the business processes, systems and constituents that make up the complex ecosystem that is Health & Human Services. AltruIT’s mission is to support the important work of case management by providing tools that help social workers spend more time with their clients and less time on paperwork. Along with FollowMe, AltruIT’s partners include Citrix, Google, Microsoft, Mobile Epiphany, Motorola and Salesforce. AltruIT was founded in 2003 and today is a wholly owned subsidiary of Aspiranet, a network that supports foster children, siblings, families and the community with 35 core programs statewide. For more information, please visit www.AltruIT.com.
FollowMe is a pioneer in electronic personal health records (PHRs). Founded in 2000, the FollowMe consumer health platform solution was engineered with tools to empower both patients and clinicians with a focus on organizations serving vulnerable populations such as foster youth and those with chronic health issues.
Aspiranet, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charity, supports foster children, siblings, families, and the community with 35 core programs offering specialized services through 45 locations within California.
Founded 35 years ago as a six-bed group home for young boys in Moss Beach, California, Aspiranet is one of the most diverse nonprofit social service agencies in the state. With a statewide network of innovative services, Aspiranet has served over 15,000 families and children since its founding.
Aspiranet’s vision of bringing families together and helping foster children, siblings, and parents thrive is realized through services in the following areas: Adoption and Foster Care, Early Prevention for At-Risk Families, Education and Afterschool, Pregnant and New Mothers, Emotional and Behavioral Health, Encore Careers, Autism and Special Needs. For more information, please visit www.aspiranet.org.