Non-clinical laypeople can effectively connect patients with support programs to help address the social determinants of health, making that service more efficient for managed care organizations (MCOs), according to a recent study in the American Journal of Accountable Care.

What’s more, these laypeople can provide emotional support that is the baseline of delivering compassionate, empathic healthcare, the report showed. Healthcare industry professionals are increasingly shining a light on the importance of addressing the social determinants of health. However, there are a number of challenges to doing so, the researchers pointed out. “A majority of physicians acknowledge that unmet social needs contribute to poor health outcomes, but most report a lack of time during the clinical appointment to address patients’ social needs in addition to their medical needs,” the research team stated. “They also may be unwilling or unable to address patients’ social determinants of health.” ….more