Addressing social needs can be overwhelming for some health care organizations, but you shouldn’t feel like you have to tackle this issue alone.

The California Improvement Network’s latest CIN Connections report, Beyond the Exam Room: Social Needs That Impact Health, features actionable information to address social needs. This includes six lessons from Kaiser Permanente, case studies from three organizations, and a resource page with tools and information to help leaders address social needs and implement cutting-edge initiatives in their own organizations.

Megan O’Brien, our value-based care program manager, shares some of the early lessons from our programs and tips from our social needs work so far:

  • Working on social needs is overwhelming at first. Building capacity is a heavy lift, with many outstanding questions and technical assistance needs.
  • The expertise required to guide organizations in addressing social needs in effective partnerships is diffuse. There is no one person or organization that can answer all the questions.
  • Partnerships are challenging. Most clinics have existing relationships with community partners like social service providers. Working together in a new way, including with data front and center to guide the effort, is a struggle.
  • The verdict is still out on the best role of the clinic. There are differences in philosophy and approach among the clinics that determine how they see their responsibilities and the roles they want to play

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