CommunityRx: A Population Health Improvement Innovation That Connects Clinics To Communities

Health Aff (Millwood). 2016 Nov 1;35(11):2020-2029. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2016.0694.


The CommunityRx system, a population health innovation, combined an e-prescribing model and community engagement to strengthen links between clinics and community resources for basic, wellness, and disease self-management needs in Chicago. The components of CommunityRx were a youth workforce, whose members identified 19,589 public-serving entities in the 106-square-mile implementation region between 2012 and 2014; community health information specialists, who used the workforce's findings to generate an inventory of 14,914 health-promoting resources; and a health information technology (IT) platform that was integrated with three electronic health record systems at thirty-three clinical sites. By mapping thirty-seven prevalent social and medical conditions to community resources, CommunityRx generated 253,479 personalized HealtheRx prescriptions for more than 113,000 participants. Eighty-three percent of the recipients found the HealtheRx very useful, and 19 percent went to a place they learned about from the HealtheRx. All but one organization continued using the CommunityRx system after the study period ended. This study demonstrates the feasibility of using health IT and workforce innovation to bridge the gap between clinical and other health-promoting sectors.

Keywords: Cross-Sector; Determinants Of Health; Health Promotion/Disease Prevention; Information Technology; Population Health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Chicago
  • Community Health Centers / organization & administration*
  • Electronic Prescribing*
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Medical Informatics / methods
  • Population Health*