Integrating Health and Social Care

Health and social care is an area that covers a wide range of services, including those provided in hospital and community settings. The health sector typically provides medical services, while the social care sector addresses a person’s day-to-day living needs and promotes their wellbeing and recovery. It includes things like providing home help and community transport for the elderly or disabled.

Integration between health and social care can make healthcare more efficient and cost-effective. It can also lead to better outcomes for people and reduce the need for invasive or costly procedures. It is crucial that all stakeholders, including patients and families, work together to improve integrated care.

Payers and providers have an important role to play, but governments must bear the biggest responsibility for integrating health and social care. They need to invest in critical enablers, such as data and technology. They also need to create the right incentives to encourage collaboration between sectors. And they must establish an appropriate governance structure that aligns stakeholder roles and responsibilities.

This requires national policies that catalyze initiatives to test new integrated care models and ensure a strong focus on improving population health and decreasing costs. Those policies should include validated measures of social risk and engagement with frontline health care staff and their managers. They should also include flexibility within payment and contracting arrangements to align incentives across sectors. For example, some health systems and their contracted providers have developed innovative models to address social risk by creating formal referral relationships with local community organizations. health and social care

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