How Building a Community Referral Network Can Help Strengthen Your Organization
You’ve heard the phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child.” That sentiment rings true throughout a person’s entire life. Connecting people with the resources they need to experience a fulfilling, healthy life is why referral networks matter. Referral networks help case managers and healthcare, nonprofit and social services professionals better assist their clients by connecting them to organizations that can help.
What is a Community Referral Network?
A referral network connects the entire community to better population health by providing access to everyone who needs it through two main functions: providing a directory of community organizations that deliver services and helping organizations make and manage referrals for those services. This can be especially important for individuals and families who may be experiencing financial or other economic barriers to accessing necessary resources like food and clothing. By expanding the resources available, clients are better served with a wider range of services and support.
Within a referral network, there are many tools and players. The network is made up of a group of individuals or organizations that work together to give cross-referrals for services people need. This collaboration requires a reciprocal partnership of give and take where all parties benefit from each other.
One such example of a tool that can help build or expand your referral network is Community CareLink’s (CCL) resource guide. This guide helps organizations in the Kansas City area to easily refer clients to agencies based on their specific needs. The ability to sort through categories such as education, legal services, recovery support and transportation makes the referral process more effective.
Community CareLink’s resource guide allows organizations to:
1. Easily refer clients to partnering agencies
2. Coordinate care within their communities
3. Manage extensive networks within one tool
4. Save time and improve the quality of care
Let’s delve deeper into each of these benefits.
#1: Easy Referrals
When clients can access the services they need, when they need them, they are more likely to achieve positive outcomes and combat gaps created by the social determinants of health (SDoH), environmental and social conditions that influence health outcomes. By streamlining operations through the use of a referral network, organizations can ensure that their clients receive assistance in achieving optimal health and wellbeing.
#2 Coordination of Care
Building a referral network can help organizations establish stronger relationships with partnering agencies. By working together to support clients, organizations build trust and establish a sense of community within their network. Additionally, being able to reference and follow a client's lifetime of need across the continuum of care gives organizations the ability to see that they are receiving consistent and effective care over time.
#3 Managing Extensive Networks
Access to in-depth reports and analytics based on closed-loop referral outcomes is valuable for organizations looking to measure their impact and improve the quality of care they provide. The ability to build, maintain and track a record of incoming and outgoing referrals can help organizations stay organized and ensure that they are effectively connecting clients to the resources they need. Additionally, having more data at their disposal can help organizations prove their successes and remain in compliance with ever-changing regulations surrounding funders.
#4 Save Time & Improve Quality of Care
Rather than spending hours searching for services or resources, referral networks connect clients to partnering agencies that are better equipped to provide answers and solutions. This saves time and resources that can be better spent helping others. The ability to swiftly refer clients to community partners such as clinicians, physicians, program heads and case managers ensures that clients receive the resources they need exactly when they need it.
Learn More About Community CareLink’s Referral Networking Tools
Community CareLink’s case management platform is designed to help nonprofits, community organizations and government agencies strengthen the social safety net and put humans back at the center of their communities. With many ways to intake clients in need of support, custom forms for application and intake processes, a referral dashboard with face-up, actionable client information, views of inbound and outbound referral activity and the ability to refer directly in the HIPAA-compliant system, CCL helps connect resources for communities across the U.S.
Further, CCL’s ability to access comprehensive data on the SDoH in each community can help organizations identify and address possible gaps more effectively, leading to better overall outcomes for populations in need. By streamlining operations and taking advantage of CCL’s secure and efficient solutions, communities can ensure that they are providing clients with the best possible care through referral programs. If you're interested in learning more about how Community CareLink can help your organization, contact us today!