Every day throughout Health Services, social workers and other staff help patients find food pantries, rental assistance, childcare centers and more. To do so, they often rely on well-worn binders and lists.
Now, the department is rolling out One Degree to better assist patients with their social needs. One Degree is an online platform with thousands of community resources that are regularly updated and available in both English and Spanish. Through One Degree, Health Services staff can find resources by topic and geography and can text them to patients. Staff members can also refer patients to community organizations and track and close those referrals. And they can create online collections of favorite resources.
“If you work in the emergency department, specialty care, inpatient, urgent care or clinics, you should use One Degree,” said Health Services Nurse Manager Mary Ann Moreno. “No matter where you are, you should be referring patients in the same way.”
Health Services will hold virtual training sessions with One Degree in the coming months, both within the department as well as in the community. Health Services also recently added a link in ORCHID that takes users to One Degree. The tool is part of the department’s broader effort to address patients’ social needs by screening them for social and behavioral health needs and using One Degree to link patients with community organizations.
Los Angeles County has worked with One Degree in recent years to add resources throughout the county. Most recently, with Health Services’ help, One Degree created a COVID-19 online guide. And the organization is hosting L.A. County’s COVID-19 testing map.
There has been an increase of patients needing food and housing since COVID-19, said Charmaine Dorsey, director of Patient and Social Support Services. “One Degree helps us have a centralized place for people to access resources for them.”
The Yelp-style platform is interactive and searchable and can be used through the website or a phone app. Users can add, edit and review resources. A few examples of resources on the site are job placement programs for transitional age youth, childcare centers for working parents, social activities for LGBTQ seniors, legal services for immigrants and yoga classes for people who are homeless.
One Degree was started by a nonprofit organization, also named One Degree, to help low-income families improve their lives and achieve social and economic mobility. Lauren Fogel, vice president at One Degree, said the nonprofit is grateful for the partnership with L.A. County. “With their support we were able to launch One Degree in LA County, empowering tens of thousands of Angelenos to find and access resources in the community.”
Health Services staff are encouraged to sign up for a free account at www.1degree.org. Let’s see which facility can get the most accounts! If you want to learn more, please email:firstname.lastname@example.org.