GROUNDED IN SCIENCE
NowPow is the brainchild of a team led by University of Chicago physician-scientist Stacy Lindau, MD, MAPP, who began investigating how the assets of our communities could be leveraged for health long before “social determinants of health” became an industry buzzword. Her research was predicated on the idea that health is largely determined by factors like access to nutritious food, secure housing, employment resources, and other services, like smoking cessation programs and caregiver support. To support whole person health, Lindau pioneered the concept of e-prescribing community resources through a program of research called CommunityRx. In 2012, Lindau’s University of Chicago research lab won a $5.9 million award from the U.S. Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) to pilot CommunityRx in Chicago. Over 113,000 patients received personalized e-prescriptions for community resources through the program. With increased access to resources came a decrease in Medicare inpatient stays, unplanned Medicare readmissions and Medicaid emergency department visits, according to a third party review.
WHOLE PERSON CARE ACROSS WHOLE COMMUNITIES
To meet expectations of that grant and further promote health equity and whole person care, Lindau founded NowPow in 2014. She joined forces with social entrepreneur Rachel Kohler to launch the company out of Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. In seven years, Kohler (serving as CEO) and Lindau (serving as chief innovation officer), along with a diverse team of over 140 NowPowers, built a suite of referral tools and brought them to communities in 23 states — powering over 1.5 million screenings for health-related social needs and connecting people to millions of highly matched services.
While most referrals have supported basic needs like food, shelter and financial assistance, NowPow’s whole person care approach and custom, condition-based algorithms have made it possible to support many other interventions, including ones to address prenatal maternal and infant health, mental health, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dementia, caregiving and social isolation. Alongside this growth, NowPow has remained dedicated to supporting rigorous research through CMS programs like Accountable Health Communities and Integrated Care for Kids.