United Way for Southeastern Michigan and its partners are working to develop infrastructure that enables organizations, agencies, and sectors to share information and coordinate care planning that creates better experiences for people accessing services. Our efforts to develop this infrastructure, referred to as a Community Information Exchange (CIE™), center on the recognition that the health and social services sector lacks the capacity, resources, and technology required to work with clients and individuals across organizations and different programs. Even though each sector and agency may work well individually, they are part of a greater system that is disjointed and complex for both community members and for agencies, a system that lacks deep coordination and shared care planning, and that is better set up to react to current situations that plan for future care. 

What we and our partners are trying to do is build an infrastructure that knits the health and social services system together in a way that works better for people, and we are doing so by following the best practice model laid out by 2-1-1 San Diego’s CIE™. At its core, a CIE™ is a network of partners in the health and social services sectors who have partnered together to coordinate care for persons in need of assistance. These partners are committed to a collective approach to care and to working better together in service of the community. A CIE™ helps partners communicate with one another and contribute information to a shared care plan. It supports proactive care planning by enabling partners to share individual demographic and program enrollment information, get notified of significant events, and helps provide organizations a better understanding of the ecosystem they’re operating in. But at the end of the day, a CIE™ helps to create a better experience for community members. 

There are many core capabilities of a CIE™, including its network partners, shared language, closed loop and bi-directional referrals, and data integration. All these capabilities work together to drive and deliver enhanced community care planning. While we are currently building and testing individual CIE™ capabilities, such as in our Closing the Loop project where we are testing the ability of a referring agency to receive information back from a servicing agency about an individual they referred for services, there is work to do to understand the current landscape of data sharing and care coordination in the health and social services sector. 

Environmental Scan: Stakeholder Interviews  

United Way for Southeastern Michigan requests submissions from qualified professionals to conduct qualitative, in-depth interviews with major stakeholders in the health and social services sector within southeast Michigan, including but not limited to child care, public health, housing, and economic mobility.  

 

Purpose: To develop a robust CIE™, a community first needs to understand how local organizations currently coordinate care and the challenges they are experiencing, as well as the social, economic, political, and technological events and trends shaping local coordination efforts. The stakeholder interviews will help us understand the state of multi-sector data sharing initiatives aimed at improving community health and what agencies’ comfortability and desires are regarding data sharing, data sharing agreements, and participation in shared care planning. 

Topics of discussion during the environmental scan include: 

Data Asset Map: An in-depth assessment of where data is collected, stored, and shared across systems to understand the flow of persons through multiple systems. 

  • How does information about people flow through different systems? 
  • What processes and protocols are in place to connect people at the intersections between systems? 
  • What software or data systems are being used within each sector? 
    • Do agencies collect and store data among multiple data systems (according to rules of a particular funder or program) or a single system? 
  • What are the problems service providers and key decision-makers are seeing when it comes to data sharing? 
  • What data is missing for informed decision making at all levels (micro, mezzo, macro)? 
  • What is working well and where are there examples of positive deviations in the way data and information flows? 
  • What examples of cross-sector data sharing exist? 

Data Sharing Agreements: All partners use standard agreements that meet information exchange requirements.

  • What is agency’s familiarity with data sharing agreements? 
  • Does the agency currently share data with others? If so, with whom and how? 
  • What data agreements and consent protocols exist in the community?  
  • What is agency’s comfortability in participating in data sharing agreements? 
    • What steps could be taken to make the agency more comfortable participating in data sharing? 
  • What challenges does the agency encounter, or anticipate, when sharing data with other agencies? 
    • How long does it typically take for agencies to execute data sharing agreements? 
  • How would sharing data across partners add value? 
  • Do you share data with other agencies as a function of reporting mandates? What platform or software do you use to complete this reporting? 

Common Agenda: All participants have a shared vision for change that includes a common understanding of the program and joint approach to solving the problem through agreed upon actions. 

  • Who does the agency partner with, and what challenges do they experience working together and sharing information with each other? 
  • How willing are agencies to coordinate services with partners outside their own agency? 
    • How willing are agencies to share important information and change their service delivery workflows to accommodate coordination and integration (e.g., share information about available beds and appointment slots, alter expectations for reimbursement for additional referred clients, change eligibility criteria, increase community marketing of services, etc.)? 
  • In what ways would agency staff benefit from receiving information from other service providers about their clients? 
  • How do agencies see shared care planning changing their approach to services? What benefits to they believe shared care planning will have to their agency, to clients? What challenges do they expect might stem from participating in shared care planning? 
  • What Return on Investment do agencies see in participating in information sharing and contributing to a community care plan? How will it impact their operations? 
  • What current working relationships, partner programs, and/or collaboratives do agencies participate in? 
  • In your collective impact work, do you work with a backbone organization? 

Deliverables: 

  • Participate in onboarding activities with United Way for Southeastern Michigan  
  • Review and refine interview topics and questions  
  • Develop an interview guide  
  • Conduct up to 50 interviews with community-based organizations 
  • Write a final report of findings  
    • In the final report, it is requested that the contractor compare the data collected from community-based organizations against the framework established by the Collective Impact Model 

Terms and funding: 

We anticipate this work to occur over a period of 6-8 months. Award amounts will be determined solely at United Way’s discretion after review and evaluation of the proposals received that fulfill the proposed scope of work. The term of the contract, fees for services, and total contract amount will be negotiated between United Way and the chosen contractor. 

Submission Criteria

Proposals should be submitted via email as attachments, in Word or PDF format. The proposals should include the following components: 

  • Cover letter and resume 
  • Statement of qualification, which includes experience planning and conducting environmental scans 
    • Demonstrated knowledge of the Collective Impact Model preferred 
  • Project plan overview and milestone timeline 
  • Project budget and narrative  
    • Proposed total budget including a breakdown of staff and costs, interview costs, and data and quality review costs. Please also include an estimate of the projected number of interviews. 
    • The budget should include compensation for stakeholder interviews; the compensation for each interview much be $50/hour for up to three hours per stakeholder.  
    • Brief budget narrative outlining details of what is included in the budget 
  • 1-2 examples of previous work

Timeline

  • Aug. 19: Responses to questions will be sent to all respondents.
  • Aug. 24: RFPs due by email by 5 p.m. to environmentalscan@unitedwaysem.org.
  • Sept. 12: United Way for Southeastern Michigan notifies respondents.
  • Sept. 19 to Sept. 26: Work will ideally begin.