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Rocco Perla on the Gaining Popularity of Social Needs Interventions
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Rocco Perla on the Gaining Popularity of Social Needs Interventions

Recently, there has been more evidence highlighting the importance of social needs interventions, as these measures get to the root of a patientís specific health issue and can ultimately impact the sustainability of the healthcare system as well as the patientís quality of life, said Rocco Perla, president of Health Leads.


 
Recently, there has been more evidence highlighting the importance of social needs interventions, as these measures get to the root of a patient’s specific health issue and can ultimately impact the sustainability of the healthcare system as well as the patient’s quality of life, said Rocco Perla, president of Health Leads. 

Transcript (slightly modified)

Why are social needs interventions gaining attention from payers now more than ever?

What we’re seeing are a lot of factors emerging that are encouraging payers to really kind of rethink their strategies around care delivery and care management. I think first and foremost is the issue around sustainability. So we know that only about 10% of health outcomes are linked to direct medical care. 70% are associated with the social and environmental factors. So in terms of long-term viability, it just isn’t going to be a logical strategy to ignore that 70% of the drivers of health and cost in the long term.

I think the second issue is around increased numbers of patients that are now newly insured through the exchanges and through provisions in the Affordable Care Act so now the health payers and the whole market in general was trying to understand how do we serve these patients in a way that addresses all of their needs. In essence, a new market has been created and that market needs to be met with innovative and creative solutions that take into account the entire patient, not just a portion of their care in the clinical setting.

And then lastly, we’re starting to see growing evidence come in that shows if we can impact social needs in an effective way, we will reduce the cost of care and increase the quality. So for example, a patient may have an asthma condition and that asthma may be treated by direct medical care but the underlying cause of the asthma may be substandard housing, mold in the apartment, cockroach infestations, and thinks like that. If we don’t address that root cause of the problem, the patient will continue to come back and receive care, which drives up costs and also the patient suffers during that period.

So again, it’s really about integrating the space between the health system and the social services sector and bringing those together in service of the patient. 

 
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