Use Cases

HSDS is designed around a number of use-cases. The data model of HSDS aims to provie a bridge between data providers, users and interemediaries.

The following illustrative use cases should guide both standard development and implementation.

Help Seeker

Help seekers (i.e. patients, clients, consumers, victims, survivors, etc.) have a need (or multiple needs) that can be addressed by services in their community. To find services, help seekers must receive accurate, relevant, and easily understandable information about services which they can access and for which they are eligible.

Help seekers may not be capable of articulating the addressable aspect of their needs. They may have limited media literacy and limited access to technology. They may not know about the existence of relevant services, let alone the ‘correct’ terms to describe those services. They may have difficulty processing and/or trusting information. They may struggle with anticipated or actual stigmatization for seeking help. Incorrect information can cost help-seekers time, money, or even conceivably lives.

Help seekers might currently look for help by searching the Internet or turning to a trusted community anchor like a library, school, or religious institution. They might talk to a service provider (“referrer”) who can help identify addressable needs (through some screening process) and provide them with actionable information about services.

As a help-seeker, I want to find services that meet my needs.


A Referrer is the person who engages directly with a help-seeker (often face-to-face) and helps them find relevant and accessible services. A ‘referrer’ is usually (but not always) a professional or a volunteer who is working for an organization that itself provides as a service to its community (i.e. case manager, social worker, health worker, EMT, patient intake, librarian, teacher, etc.). Referrers are typically the primary users of resource directory information systems.

Referrers require:

  1. accurate information,
  2. the service’s relevance (is the client eligible), and
  3. the quality of the service.

Referrers commonly interact with help seekers using a structured workflow that includes a screening process to identify important attributes of the help-seeker’s situation. Referrers match information gathered from the help-seeker to accessible and relevant services.

As a referrer (aka service provider, etc), I want to provide relevant and accurate information about services.


A Researcher uses service directory data, in synthesis with other kinds of data, for the purpose of understanding community health, predicting future needs, identifying funding gaps, and other kinds of analysis. Such a role is often played by funders, policymakers, planners, or community leaders.

Researchers study the effectiveness of programs, which may not be specific services but rather a set of services bundled through a funding stream and around a common mission. Researchers seek accountability for the performance of the health, human, and social service system overall. They want their work to make this data useful for system-level decision-making. Researchers need reliably structured data, from across institutional and jurisdictional boundaries, that can be readily ‘mashed up’ with other kinds of data (census, funding, etc).

As a researcher, I need data in raw formats over a specific time period and meaningful context for service information so that I can perform efforts-to-outcomes and population-level analysis.

Data Administrator

A Data Administrator is responsible for information systems that are a compilation of directories. Data administrators produce and maintain information; tasks include updating records, maintaining naming conventions, running reports, designing mechanisms for retrieval and delivery, etc. They may be responsible for reporting directly to funders and government agencies. These responsibilities are sometimes shared among several roles in an organization.

As a data administrator, I want a data maintenance process flow enabled by a simple and easy to use interface to update data quickly and efficiently.