Population Health Approach Covers Socioeconomic Gaps in Care

Too often, the socioeconomic factors in a patient's life don't receive the attention they merit, and that is where the value of population health becomes clear. Many physician practices are beginning to address some often-neglected health factors, such as living conditions inside the home or a patient's employment status. Physicians typically don't ask about these topics during an office visit, but they can greatly influence a patient's health outcome.

Some institutions are tackling these social factors by evaluating the entirety of each patient's needs and then assigning a health professional to ensure that any barriers to care are removed. On June 18, the Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care hosted a forum(www.graham-center.org) during which panelists discussed population health and, more specifically, how patients' health and socioeconomic needs can be accommodated.

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