Innovation involves thinking about the future. Considering what will be needed in times ahead and determining how to reshape the way things are currently done in order to prepare and respond to changing circumstances.
A skill that Partners demonstrates elegantly.
When Covid-19 struck and people moved into quarantine, we knew our work with the frail, those transitioning back home, and the chronically ill in the community couldn’t come to a halt. If anything, we knew they needed our services more than ever.
In rapid order we shifted our services to connect with them in a remote manner, over the phone or over the internet. The goal was to keep meeting their needs, help them on their path, and let them know they hadn’t been forgotten. Our community wellness programs stood up remotely in rapid order to keep their classes and workshops in touch with those counting on their services.
At the same time, we discovered the scourges of loneliness and social isolation were growing. In partnership with other community-based organizations we identified evidence-based programs proven to address these social problems and quickly put them to work.
Another innovation driven by Covid-19 was developing methods for addressing the digital divide, which has been described as the gap between those with accessibility and connectivity, and those, who for many reasons, go without. Digital tools have been shown to help individuals cope with isolation and loneliness. They bring entertainment, education, family, and friends into a home. They make a doctor’s office accessible. And they bridge the gap when activities that are normally done in person must be done remotely.
We’ve been harnessing programs that put digital tools and accessibility into the hands of seniors, families and children who otherwise would go without. We’ve been teaching people how to use them, where to find the information they need to make their lives a little better.
Since 1997 we’ve been finding innovative ways to address the social determinants of health. The need has gotten greater. The pace grown quicker. Our resolve to meet the challenges greater! It is what makes us the social determinants innovators.