New article in American Hospital Association publication: comprehensive efforts will address utilization, also keep people from getting sick in the first place
High medical costs are an enormous concern on both a national and an individual institutional level. Healthcare spending is 18% of our nation’s GDP—and more than 50% of those costs are accrued by 5% of patients known as high utilizers. Proposed solutions for high utilization typically involve improving care coordination and connecting individuals with services in the community. Our new article in Hospitals and Health Networks demonstrates that a community prevention approach adds great value to these solutions.
The article, co-written by Prevention Institute Program Manager Dr. Larissa J. Estes and Jeremy Cantor of JSI Research & Training Institute Inc., gives the example of treating patients who have housing insecurity:
“Providing integrated care may help manage an individual’s conditions, but the gains for population health will be marginal without addressing underlying issues such as access to stable, safe, affordable housing…. Individual referrals to social services and community-based organizations are important; it is also critical, however, to develop strategic relationships to support an integrated response to housing insecurity. It is essential to support advocacy and policy changes that ensure resources (such as affordable and safe housing units) are available for all community residents.”
Comprehensive approaches that operate at multiple levels are effective—we’ve seen them reduce tobacco-related diseases, lead-associated conditions, and asthma rates. These approaches enhance both short- and long-term prevention: “Strong relationships between clinical staff and patients, a range of readily available services and resources, and health-promoting community environments provide the basis for long-term health and wellness. Addressing housing, food insecurity, transportation and economic opportunity for high utilizers can also prevent utilization from rising among high-risk individuals,” the article notes. It can also help those with chronic conditions to maintain their health, and keep those with no medical issues from getting sick in the first place, the article adds. Click here to read the full article.
We are grateful to the Blue Shield of California Foundation for supporting our work on medical high utilization. Prevention Institute will soon release an infographic that shows how community prevention is a vital element of a comprehensive strategy to reduce high utilization. To receive a copy of this infographic when it’s ready, please email Larissa at Larissa@preventioninsitute.org.