Network of Care an MHSA Information Sharing Success
December 24, 2008
California Department of Mental Health
SACRAMENTO, Calif.— Is it possible to bring corporate technology into social services? In fact, it is — and that is just what former Assembly member Bruce Bronzan has done with an early Mental Health Services Act investment in his Trilogy Integrated Resources’ company, the Network of Care.
The Network of Care is a public Web site based on a model of a virtual private network. Bronzan looked at companies, such as DuPont Corporation, which used such networks in the late 1990’s.
In a recent presentation before the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSOAC), Bronzan described his application of private networks to public problems in this way. “We have a fragmented Health and Human Services in the United States because we have no national health care,” said Bronzan. “We have programs that are not connected,” he said. Speaking figuratively, Bronzan said, “We have 100 different funding streams going to Sacramento for aging and these go to 1000 different agencies.”
Bronzan wondered how to coordinate these funding streams and he came up with the Network of Care. The Network of Care has an extensive library as part of its service — all for free because it is a public service. The “State” choice on the site has all the bills in the California Legislature. Also included in the site are 50,000 publicly funded links. Lastly, visitors to the Network of Care can establish a Personal Health Record, or PHR, with a willing provider. Providers can deposit medical information in the PHR.
The Web site was first piloted in San Diego County. Bronzan showed the network to the President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health. Not much later, Bronzan asked State Mental Health Director Stephen Mayberg to get involved and Mayberg decided to ask the MHSOAC to invest MHSA funds.
The MHSOAC approved the investment. The Network of Care now has two million users a year — not just hits, but users. Bronzan said, “This has been an enormous success.”