An Albert Schweitzer Fellowship Project
Networking Health (NH) was founded as a Baltimore Albert Schweitzer Fellowship Project to benefit underserved patients in the Baltimore community. Approximately one-fifth of Baltimore inhabitants live below the poverty line, of which over 3,000 are homeless. One third of these are homeless due to health issues that keep them from making a living, with approximately 42% remaining homeless for one to five years and another 22% for six years or more. A significant portion of this population suffers from chronic diseases including diabetes, hypertension, Hepatitis C, HIV and frequent bacterial infections.
Due to lacking medical resources for the homeless across the country, they often present to one of the nation’s approximately six thousand emergency departments with neglected and advanced disease. Even when this care is finally sought, healthcare providers must deal with the additional challenge of inaccessible or incomplete medical records. This problem is particularly pronounced if the patient has relied upon free clinics for primary care, which may lack sufficient resources to compile and store adequate medical records. The resultant care is suboptimal at best and, at times, needlessly expensive.
Through support received from the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship and private donors, medical students at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the University of Maryland School of Medicine teamed up to target as an initial project implementation of free and open source electronic medical records (EMR) at free clinics that cater to the underserved population of Baltimore. The NH EMR was designed as an all-in-one, easy-to-implement package that was initially piloted at the Baltimore Rescue Mission Clinic (BRMC). The ultimate goal of this initial project is to develop a platform to offer EHR and other health IT services around a non-profit model build largely on open-source and standards based technology.
Today, NH has grown and reshaped its broader vision to provide clinically informed services and support related on broad health IT topics including but not limited to integration, exchange, workflow, customization, new development, implementation, and education.
NH was founded on the principle belief that technology can help to provide safer and more efficient care delivery to patients in need. NH has evolved to tackle problems in healthcare from an innovative and optimistic, yet practical perspective. NH appreciates the helpful support of its many volunteers and donors for making this important work possible around a non-profit model.