Health Care Trend: Increasing Validation that Social Support as Integral as Medical Support

More studies are validating the growing recognition that a medical focus alone is not enough to improve outcomes and reduce costs. <break> According to an article in Forbes Magazine about social supports, “two new reports show just how mainstream the idea of social supports is becoming. Not just among consumers, or within the world of long-term care, but inside the medical profession.”

happy-ladyOne of the reports published by The Commonwealth Fund states that “80 percent of physicians conclude that addressing patients’ social needs is as critical as addressing their medical needs. Yet until recently, providers rarely addressed patients’ unmet social needs in clinical settings.” And while Minnesota was the topped rank state in the United Health Foundation report, there is still plenty of work to do. Still, more providers are “concluding that investing in interventions addressing their patients’ social as well as clinical needs makes good business sense,” adds the Commonwealth Fund report.

One main reason for the change: increasing economic incentives.

According to the Commonwealth Fund, “public and private payers are introducing payment models that hold providers financially accountable for patient health and the costs of treatment.” Models include capitation, bundling, shared-savings and penalties for hospital readmissions. Providers are also seeking and getting more freedom to develop models that can be creative in achieving better outcomes.

“At Lifesprk, we’ve found more partners interested in learning how our model can help them extend their continuum and bring that creative proactive guidance approach to their efforts – enabling them to not only improve outcomes for their clients, lower costs and achieve their business goals, but also making them more attractive for these health reform opportunities,” explains Joel Theisen, RN, CEO & Founder of Lifesprk.

The Commonwealth Fund report notes that investing in social support brings added benefits for providers: improved patient satisfaction, engendering loyalty and improved employee satisfaction.

The reasons to pay attention to and integrate social supports into your current practice are mounting. So how are you addressing your clients’ social support needs? And how can you get started?

Lifesprk can help. Call us at 952-345-8770 to learn more about our model and why it is being sought by leading providers to create successful solutions for clients and providers. Or email us.