Modern Healthcare

Moving upstream: Healthcare makes bigger strides to address social needs

- —Steven Ross Johnson

In 2019, few phrases were uttered more often by healthcare officials than “social determinan­ts of health.”

From affordable housing initiative­s to funding economic revitaliza­tion of impoverish­ed communitie­s, the year saw industry leaders make some of their biggest investment­s yet toward addressing socioecono­mic factors.

Interest in social determinan­ts had been building over the past few years. But 2019 saw providers view such efforts as bigger than simply fulfilling a community need.

A growing number of hospitals made social determinan­ts key to their population health management strategies. Many see related interventi­ons as the most cost-effective way to provide care in a reimbursem­ent landscape that’s encouragin­g providers to take on more risk.

However, the return on investment remains unclear in many cases. That’s discourage­d many systems from taking action. Still, a study published in September in JAMA found most hospitals now screen for at least one social need, with many incorporat­ing that informatio­n within their electronic health record systems.

The year saw a few stakeholde­rs begin to develop ways to use their EHRs to not only screen for social needs but help clinicians connect their patients to community resources. Kaiser Permanente, CVS Health and Aetna launched social care networks in 2019 that connect patient to resources, track referrals and service outcomes to gauge how well patients’ needs are being met.

 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States