When Dr. Lisa Gantz started working at High Desert Regional Health Center in July 2020, she didn’t have a clear way to find resources for her patients and their families. If a patient needed an after-school program, domestic violence shelter or food pantry, she searched for old flyers and lists or turned to colleagues.
“I didn’t have a lot of familiarity with the area, so it was a lot of luck,” said Gantz, a pediatrician and internist.
Then she started using One Degree, an online platform with thousands of resources sorted by topic and geography. Through One Degree, LA Health Services staff can quickly find community resources, refer patients to the organizations and track those referrals. Countywide Communications and LA 36 produced a video about One Degree.
Gantz now routinely uses One Degree to help connect her patients to the help they need in the community. And she and her colleagues have created online “collections” with key organizations and opportunities. “We’ve pooled our lived knowledge and have taken the luck out of it,” she said. “Now our staff can all access the same resources, whether they are brand new to the area or have been there for a long time.”
She and other LA Health Services staff are also getting patients signed up for their own free accounts so they can search for community resources and organizations in addition to getting referrals from their providers. Among the most common referrals from staff are for food, counseling, housing and job placement.
Delmy Delgado, a medical case worker, said, “I’ve learned so much about local organizations just by browsing through One Degree and have helped link patients to great services.”
The department has been partnering with One Degree for several years but has recently made several key improvements and started new initiatives:
- Sign-on: Once you set up a free One Degree account, you will be automatically connected to the platform as soon as you sign into the Department of Health Services (DHS) network. DHS staff are encouraged to sign up for a free account at https://www.1degree.org/ladhs
- Organization pages: Each clinic and hospital has its own organization page in One Degree, and community navigators have been streamlining collections of nearby resources.
- Training: One Degree is offering ongoing training sessions. If you want to learn more or arrange training for yourself or your team, please email email@example.com.
- Marketing: LA Health Services is launching a marketing campaign to raise awareness about One Degree. Watch out for flyers, posters, screensavers, social media posts and more. There will be contests to increase the number of people signed up for free accounts – and using those accounts to make referrals.
- Champions: LA Health Services is identifying One Degree champions to help answer your questions.
Finally, through a grant to address Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) among LA Health Services patients, the department recently developed a closed-loop referral system between clinics doing ACEs screening and dozens of partner community organizations. The closed-loop referral ensures a warm handoff so the care team knows the crucial service is being accessed, Gantz said.
One Degree can be helpful for all LA Health Services staff, including nurses, doctors, social workers, care managers, case workers and community health workers.
“There is so much untapped potential with this amazing resource,” Gantz said. “I would like to see more people across DHS discovering it, trying it out and using it to connect our community the resources they need when they need them.”