HSX Gets in the Kitchen with its Partner: Volunteering to Support MANNA’s Food-as-Medicine Mission

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

HSX held its annual community-service day at MANNA (the well-known Philadelphia-based Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance).  These interesting, rewarding, and fun few hours exposed most HSX staff members for the first time to the impressive MANNA operation located in the alliance’s bright and modern facility in the Spring Garden section of the city, at 420 North 20th Street.  MANNA is the first nonmedical health-related community organization to become a data exchanging participant member of the HSX exchange — and so was a great choice for HSX in offering help in a different form on this day, that of volunteer time.

The data-exchange collaboration with MANNA is the the first of its kind for HSX.  The partnership between the two organizations has been precedent setting and has received national attention.  In 2018, the exchange began providing medical-encounter notification data to the alliance on its clients, as well as access to HSX’s clinical data repository, for look-up of patient medical history.  With the data transfer in place, MANNA now knows when one of its clients is admitted or discharged from a medical facility and can access adjusted condition information, allowing its staff dieticians to tailor diets and food deliveries to individuals without the same level of dependence on updates from busy physician offices.  The services demonstrate how HIE data can enhance food security for the needy homebound chronically ill.  Earlier this year, HSX and MANNA presented this newly functioning system on the world’s largest health information technology stage — HIMSS19.

On this giving-back day, though, HSX employees took on a new, non-health-information-technoloy task: the mid-morning meal-prep shift in MANNA’s kitchen, as the HSXers donned aprons, caps, and gloves, and rolled up their sleeves.  The HSX staff chopped, prepped, and seasoned food, moved it to ovens; made sandwiches; filled meal trays, and packaged, labelled, and racked them.  They stepped into the production lines like a well-oiled team.  Afterward, the group enjoyed a lunch together at the facility, prepared by the MANNA chefs.