Study Shows Link Between Met Social Needs, Improved Outcomes

“We know that unmet basic resource needs for things like nutritious food, housing, transportation and medication are very common and are associated with poor health outcomes,” Seth Berkowitz, corresponding author of the study, said in a statement. “We offered the Health Leads program at several of our internal medicine practices for the past few years, but we did not yet know whether this strategy for addressing unmet needs would lead to changes in clinical outcomes.

The researchers looked at the cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar of more than 5,000 patients seen at three Massachusetts General between October 2013 and April 2015. All were screened for unmet needs, and 1,774 were found to have at least one. Of those, 1,021 enrolled in the Health Leads intervention, receiving on average five contacts with advocates over a one to two month period.

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