The integration of social care and healthcare is a crucial part of improving the health and well-being of people globally. It helps prevent unplanned hospital admissions, reduces the need for invasive medical procedures and promotes healthier communities. It can also save governments money.
Conventional thinking conveniently conceptualizes social care and healthcare as self-contained areas with distinct spheres of financing, provision and research. Jon Glasby challenges this over simplification, showing that both types of service are rooted in social issues and require effective inter-agency coordination of responsibility, information-sharing and decision-making.
Across the US, national policies have catalyzed initiatives to integrate social care into healthcare systems. These range from individual-level efforts, such as screening patients for social risk and connecting them to local community support services; to broader strategies to align incentives between health care organizations and their community partners, including cross-sector technology referral platforms and clinic-based food banks .
While early experiences have revealed important insights related to process measures and infrastructure, much more remains to be done to build sustainable integrated social and healthcare systems that improve people’s lives and save governments money. At a time when healthcare costs are rising rapidly and new social care services are needed, the opportunity to rethink the role of public policy in creating more connected communities is greater than ever. health and social care