Today, Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH) announced the launch of its HelpSteps mobile app and website. The social services application is a collaborative effort between BCH, the Boston Public Health Commission, The Greater Boston Food Bank and the United Way/Mass2-1-1.
“Every day I care for patients with unmet social needs that affect the health of the entire family. 15 years ago, I began developing what is now HelpSteps as a system for both screening and referring families to social service agencies,” said Boston Children’s Eric Fleegler, MD, MPH and creator of HelpSteps. “I frequently help families download the HelpSteps app while in the Boston Children's emergency department. After 30 seconds of navigating, they often shed tears, tell me ‘this is what we have been looking for,’ and occasionally I receive a hug. That's the greatest gift ever."
HelpSteps partners have collaborated to provide free and easy access to information for the citizens of the Commonwealth on over 11,000 social services related to food insecurity, housing issues, mental health, domestic violence and other human services. This free, multilingual web and mobile app can be used as a screening tool, referral database and constituent services resource.
“Navigating the complex maze of health and social services can be overwhelming. HelpSteps is a powerful tool that we’re very proud of helping to develop to assist patients, residents, clinicians and public health workers navigate this maze – leveraging technology to provide neighborhood-level resources will have an impact on how people are able to find the help that is right for them,” said Monica Valdes Lupi, Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission.
Thanks to this new partnership, the HelpSteps agency database is now maintained by Boston Public Health Commission and the United Way/Mass2-1-1 and offers 24-hour hotlines for those in need of services.
“For over 10 years, Mass2-1-1 has been providing critical social service information and resources to residents of the Commonwealth,” said Paul Mina, President and CEO of the United Way of Tri-County/Mass2-1-1. “We are delighted to partner with HelpSteps to strengthen and broaden our reach and as a result will be able to serve even more people, connecting them to essential human services each and every day.”
The website is now live and apps are available at iTunes and the App Store.
HelpSteps was conceived and developed by Dr. Eric Fleegler, an emergency physician at Boston Children's Hospital. The platform is supported and maintained by Veta Health. For inquiries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com