ACOs lack data on patients’ social needs, community partners

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Responsible healthcare organizations face major challenges in integrating social services with medical care, including the lack of data on the social needs of their patients and the capacities of community partners.

Responsible healthcare organizations face major challenges in integrating social services with medical care, including the lack of data on the social needs of their patients and the capacities of community partners. It is the observation of a new study published in the journal Health affairs, based on qualitative data from 22 ACOs. “The ACOs in our sample often lacked data on several dimensions that could inform decision-making and efforts to integrate social services and health care, a phenomenon that we refer to as the“ flying blind ”of ACOs,” said the ACOs. study authors. “At the most basic level, most ACOs lacked data on the social needs of their own patients.”

While the study ACOs reported a strong interest in harnessing data and technology to better meet social needs, for most of these organizations this is a future aspiration, not a future aspiration. a current reality. “Only half of the ACOs in our sample conducted a standardized social needs screening, and 45% used a standardized approach to documentation,” according to the study. “Additionally, even when a standard screening was performed, the results were often not shared with relevant ACO staff. In addition, the ACOs lacked data on the quality of community organizations to use in developing and evaluating partnerships. “When exploring partnerships with local community organizations, ACOs generally did not have standard data to use to assess the quality and capacities of local providers,” the authors state. “Instead, respondents said they carried out informal assessments of the quality of potential community organization partners based on factors such as the longevity of the organization, the impressions of ACO leaders at meetings of the organization. ‘informational and informal with the local leaders of the community organization and the assessments of colleagues on its organizational quality. The study also found that most COAs did not share any data with community partners after program development. “A minority of ACOs in our sample shared data with community partners, with only 14% planning to share and 9% currently sharing electronic data (such as EHR data),” according to the study. “Most were still struggling with the interoperability of internal clinical EHRs and hadn’t even begun to imagine sharing access with community partners. “” Policies that could facilitate the integration of social determinants include the provision of sustainable funding, the implementation of local and regional networking initiatives to facilitate the development of partnerships and the development of standardized data on services. and the quality of community organizations to help providers who are looking for partners, ”says Genevra Murray. , a researcher at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, who collaborated with colleagues at the University of California at Berkeley and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on the study.


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