Sanford Health connects patients to community resources

A new online resource helps fill patient needs where they live

Corporate man and a health care provider in scrubs meet in the emergency room hallway with surgical masks on.

There’s a new resource to help Sanford Health patients find world-class care, no matter their situation.

Connection within communities

In April 2022, the health care provider announced the launch of Sanford Helps, a website for patients to better connect to social care community resources.

Erica DeBoer, chief nursing officer at Sanford Health, says sanfordhelps.com is a nonthreatening way for patients to be connected to easily accessible resources where they live.

“When you think about how we interface with our patients, when we talk about food insecurity, when we talk about housing insecurity, financial insecurity, inability for our patients to be able to pay for their medications and things, it’s sometimes a hard conversation to have with your caregivers,” she explained.

She said the program assists providers, helping them see what patients may need within their communities.

“It helps us navigate and gives us concrete data about what people are searching for,” DeBoer said.

“Community resources are constantly updated to be sure that everything’s fresh and up to date,” she added.

Available to anyone

Lindsay Daniels is the system executive director for care management at Sanford Health and said Sanford Helps is user friendly. Patients may access the resource from an after-visit summary, their My Sanford Chart account, and via sanfordhealth.org. They then enter their ZIP code and can see available free or reduced cost programs nearby.

The community resource is available for anyone in need, not just current Sanford Health patients.

Daniels said she’s proud to work for a health care provider that prioritizes meeting patients where they are.

“We look at a patient’s holistic story. When it’s hard to get to medical appointments, get to work, if you don’t have stable housing or access to food, it all factors into your health. We have to address the basic needs of a population before we can make them healthy,” she said.

When it comes to connecting patients to social care resources within their communities, Daniels said it’s not any one department’s responsibility. Everyone at Sanford plays a part.

“It’s not just mine as an RN case manager, or the social worker,” she said. “We all play a part in it. Sanford Helps makes it extremely easy for, say, the radiology technician, who’s bringing someone back for a mammography who may have disclosed to them they might be struggling with food insecurity, to point them to the Sanford Helps information on their after-visit summary.

“A provider or nurse navigating on behalf of a patient can access the link and based on their individual needs refer them directly through the site to that organization. The site is also translated into multiple languages and allows staff to text or email organization’s information to the patient, as well as printing. Improving equitable access to the resources,” Daniels said.

Find support when it’s needed

Financial hardships are not uncommon. Daniels said if a patient is going through a difficult time financially, more than anything, she wants them to know they aren’t alone.

“There’s so many of us in our nation today who are struggling financially, and it becomes worse by the day. If you haven’t dealt with that, someone very close to you likely has experienced it. It’s nothing to be ashamed about. There are amazing people and organizations in every one of our communities that are here to help people in those situations,” said Daniels.

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Posted In Behavioral Health, Community, Company News, Here for all. Here for good., News, Rural Health