Connecting people in need with the services they need should be as easy as finding showtimes for movies. Regrettably, it is not.
The social safety net is inefficient and ineffective.
- The United States spends more than $100 billion every year just in the time it takes to connect people in need with social and medical services.1,2
- Despite tremendous investments of time, talent, and treasure, many are struggling: over one in five children live in poverty,3 over 21 million Americans experience addiction,4 and over half a million Americans are homeless.5
Why is it like this?
- There is no single reliable and accessible directory of social and medical service providers.
- Instead, public service professionals must rely primarily on word of mouth recommendations, online search engines, and printed paper directories for information.1
- Using these methods, it takes 42 minutes on average to connect just one person with just one service,1 leading to inefficient and, in some cases, ineffective care.
- Such inefficacy is harmful to those in need and those who serve them: a feeling of professional inefficacy is one of three primary dimensions of burnout,6 a widespread occurrence among nurses7 and social workers.8
Why hasn’t this been solved?
- Various groups (such as 2-1-1,9 Aunt Bertha,10 and Purpose Binder11) have attempted to collect and share information about social and medical services.
- However, maintaining large or detailed directories is technically challenging and expensive: fundamentally, the only way to reliably verify information about a service provider is by asking them directly, typically via a phone call. By one estimate, it costs as much as $140 to collect information about just one service provider.12
- Freely shared information faces free-rider pressures, and paywalled information competes with “free” resources previously mentioned: word-of-mouth recommendations, online search engines, and printed paper directories.
Johego is working to make this problem obsolete: