The Star-Herald

Aroostook Health Network launches new pathfinder tool to help providers find local resources for patients

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The Aroostook Health Network has launched a new online tool for local health providers to find resources for their patients in Aroostook County.

The Pathfinder portal will be used as a case management tool to streamline care coordination services for all healthcare and social service providers in the area, according to a press release from the network.

Similar to the 2-1-1 system which links people with nearby health and social services, the pathfinder tool was designed for providers to search local resources for their patients.

According to the network, the tool is the first of its kind in the state.

Organized by non-profit organizations, Pines Health Services, Aroostook County Action Program and the Aroostook Agency on Aging, the Aroostook Health Network was established with grant funding by the Health Resources Services Administration and Maine Health Access Foundation.

The portal will also have a query section where providers can ask questions and get responses from others, Jill Beaulieu the AHN coordinator explained in a live demonstration on the tool.

In a private event on Thursday, Sept. 26, Beaulieu showed attendees what they can do with the portal and how to update information about the services their organizations offer.

The participants, many of whom were from local health organizations, must present a memorandum of understanding from their CEOs in order to participate in the portal.

According to Beaulieu, several County organizations have already adopted the program and will start using it with their own work.

In addition to the Aroostook Agency on Aging, Aroostook County Action Program and Pines Health Services, organizations such as the Hope and Justice Project, Homeless Services of Aroostook and Cary Medical Center have established themselves within the network.

Beaulieu said she is going to reach out to other health and social services in The County and offer them a chance to participate, too. She expects to get a lot more organizations on board within the next few weeks, she said.

People can find local resources on their own without going through their provider, Beaulieu said. On the 2-1-1 website in the Aroostook Pathfinder section, people can find a printable list of Aroostook County resources that will be updated every six months and “will be more comprehensive than before,” according to Beaulieu.

She said she’s also going to distribute a booklet with the listing of County resources to organizations in the area to provide additional copies.

Some area professionals who attended the demonstration showed interest in the program and expressed that it would better help providers find resources for their patients, as not all organizations use the same programs to keep client records.

Carrie Anderson, a social worker with the Central Aroostook Association, discussed how she’s planning on using the system to connect her clients with resources they need. She said she’s not surprised that local organizations have collaborated to create a singular system for such a purpose.

“I’m not surprised at all … we have to work together,” she said.

“This is all about connecting care in The County,” said Joy-Baressi Saucier, secretary and treasurer of AHN during Thursday’s event.

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