VENTURA, Calif. – In mid-August 2016, the Center for Digital Government honored Ventura County with a ‘Best of California’ award for the county’s Foster Health Link web site and mobile application. Annually, the Center for Digital Government, a national research and advisory institute on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government, recognizes top-tier technology solutions that are both innovative and functional.
Foster Health Link, developed by Ventura County’s Human Services Agency, Health Care Agency and Information Technology Services department along with other partners, gives foster parents electronic access to health records and resources to support foster children’s needs.
Ventura County foster parents and relative caregivers no longer need to rely on incomplete, outdated paper medical records when caring for foster children. Through Foster Health Link, some 500 local caregivers can access updated health information about the 1,000 foster children in their care anytime from a computer or mobile device.
Foster Health Link pulls health information from the state-administered child welfare case management system regarding immunizations, allergies, medical conditions and dental exams. Additionally, the system pulls e-records from the Health Care Agency’s patient portal, including real-time summaries of doctor visits and lab results.
“Foster parents are front and center in nurturing vulnerable children, and they deserve access to information that helps them give the best care possible,” said Human Services Director Barry Zimmerman.
Hosted on a secure, Verisign-encrypted server, Foster Health Link ‘turns on’ access to health information for caregivers when they begin to care foster children, and then ‘turns off’ access when the children leave the foster home. As a ‘Best of California’ award winner, Foster Health Link has earned high marks for usability, accessibility, security and privacy.
A review of digital information sharing platforms conducted by The Children’s Partnership, a California-based national children’s advocacy organization, shows that Foster Health Link is the only system in California that allows foster parents and caregivers to access foster children’s health records online.
Shortly after the launch of Foster Health Link, Ventura County foster parent Antony Brennan called the tool “a little miracle.” He added, “It’s great. It's fabulous. Best thing that’s ever happened to foster families.”
To view a video about Foster Health Link, click here.
Photo: Human Services Agency Director Barry Zimmerman (center) accepts ‘Best of California’ award for Foster Health Link