As healthcare reaches beyond the walls of the clinic, there’s an increasing awareness that patients need connections to resources that lower their barriers to health. We’re excited to be exploring how Purple Binder can be used in new healthcare settings in a way that measurably improves patient outcomes.

A group at University of Illinois Hospital & Science System is conducting one of the first studies to determine whether community health interventions improve health outcomes and reduce costs of care.

The study, known as PArTNER, is funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). It is led by pulmonologist Dr. Jerry Krishnan, Associate VP for Population Health at University of Illinois.

As part of the study’s intervention, patients are connected with a peer support line where they are helped by other people that have their disease. For example, when a patient with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) calls the peer support line, they are connected with someone who has COPD and understands their experiences as a patient.

The peer support line is a project of the COPD Foundation. To operate it, they’ve chosen a communications company called VCC Systems with a unique staffing model.

VCC Systems is not your typical call center company. The founder, Linda Walsh, hires veterans and people with disabilities and matches them with projects where their experiences can help others. The staff all work from home, taking calls via an internet-based system.

Judy Slattery, a manager at VCC Systems, uses Purple Binder to connect patients with the resources they need. “Purple Binder definitely saves time, and it also provides information that would take hours to glean otherwise,” she said.

“For example, a patient needed to transfer her medications to a pharmacy that not only accepted Medicaid but also delivered to her home. I was able to find this resource for her on Purple Binder and the pharmacy was also closer to her home.”

“I also appreciate that the Purple Binder team constantly updates the information, even for seasonal resources, and they are always interested in how it operates for a user. They’re certainly open to any questions or suggestions.”

Purple Binder is also used in the PArTNER study by community health workers who conduct home visits with recently discharged patients.