Apr 3 2012
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Webinar: How Can We Address Health Care's Blind Side?

This week, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) will host a national discussion via webinar with prominent health care leaders to discuss solutions for bridging the gap between medical care and social needs in health care delivery. The webinar—“Health Care’s Blind Side: Exploring Solutions to Address Social Needs,” taking place April 5, 2012, from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. EST—will explore possibilities for health care professionals to connect patients to needed resources in the community that can improve their health. Speakers will also discuss the business case for physicians, clinics and hospitals to bridge the gap in treating medical and social needs.

The event builds off of the December poll findings RWJF released showing that three out of four primary care physicians surveyed felt that patients’ unmet social needslike secure housing, nutritious food and reliable transportationwere as important to address as their medical conditions. The poll also revealed that physicians overwhelmingly felt they lacked the capacity to connect patients to needed resources beyond the clinic walls, and many indicated they wanted the health care system to cover the cost of making such resource connections.

>>Read a related Idea Gallery guest post from Dr. Douglas Jutte about the significance of these findings, and the impact of social factors on his patients’ health.

While the survey helped to document the perceived gap between social needs and care delivery, the Webinar organizers hope to move the conversation forward toward real solutions, and identify answers to questions such as:

  • What changes need to happen within the health care system to more meaningfully address the social barriers that keep people from taking the steps they need to be healthy?
  • What promising models exist?

On Thursday’s webinar, Jane Isaacs Lowe, Senior Program officer at RWJF and team director of the Vulnerable Populations portfolio, will moderate the discussion, featuring the following panelists:

After the webinar, the conversation will continue on the “Health Care’s Blind Side” discussion forum through April 13. This online discussion will feature additional questions and commentary from health care leaders. Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #RXsocial.

>>Register for the webinar.

Tags: Healthy communities, Social determinants of health, Health care delivery system, Access to Health Care, Community Health, Housing, Nutrition, Transportation