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Integrating Social Care into the Delivery of Health Care: Moving Upstream to Improve the Nation’s Health was released in September 2019, before the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic in March 2020. Improving social conditions remains critical to improving health outcomes, and integrating social care into health care delivery is more relevant than ever in the context of the pandemic and increased strains placed on the U.S. health care system. The report and its related products ultimately aim to help improve health and health equity, during COVID-19 and beyond.

The consistent and compelling evidence on how social determinants shape health has led to a growing recognition throughout the health care sector that improving health and health equity is likely to depend – at least in part – on mitigating adverse social determinants. This recognition has been bolstered by a shift in the health care sector towards value-based payment, which incentivizes improved health outcomes for persons and populations rather than service delivery alone. The combined result of these changes has been a growing emphasis on health care systems addressing patients’ social risk factors and social needs with the aim of improving health outcomes. This may involve health care systems linking individual patients with government and community social services, but important questions need to be answered about when and how health care systems should integrate social care into their practices and what kinds of infrastructure are required to facilitate such activities.

Integrating Social Care into the Delivery of Health Care: Moving Upstream to Improve the Nation’s Health examines the potential for integrating services addressing social needs and the social determinants of health into the delivery of health care to achieve better health outcomes. This report assesses approaches to social care integration currently being taken by health care providers and systems, and new or emerging approaches and opportunities; current roles in such integration by different disciplines and organizations, and new or emerging roles and types of providers; and current and emerging efforts to design health care systems to improve the nation's health and reduce health inequities.

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Suggested Citation

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Integrating Social Care into the Delivery of Health Care: Moving Upstream to Improve the Nation's Health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/25467.

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Publication Info

194 pages | 6 x 9 | 

ISBNs: 
  • Paperback:  978-0-309-49343-7
  • Ebook:  978-0-309-49346-8
DOI: https://doi.org/10.17226/25467

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