Who are people with complex health and social needs?

People with complex health and social needs typically experience poor outcomes despite repeatedly cycling through multiple healthcare, social service, and other systems. Although significant resources are spent on these individuals, the care they receive has not made them healthy or well.

These individuals are some of the most expensive consumers in our healthcare system – but this doesn’t have to be the case. With data-driven, person-centered approaches, we can provide better care at lower costs, improve outcomes, and build healthier lives.

People with complex health and social needs represent a relatively small, diverse group of individuals. There is no one type of person who has complex health and social needs. They might look like Robert, who was experiencing homelessness and struggling to manage his substance use disorder and COPD. Or Shirley, who is living with diabetes and wants to stay at home and out of a nursing home. Or Antoinette, a young, first-time mother struggling with asthma and housing instability.

Complex care starts with listening to people’s stories. By understanding the needs and goals of the diverse individuals we serve in this field, we can better coordinate and deliver the care they need to live healthy and productive lives.

Learn more and join the movement here.

Care Stories:

PCIC: Patient stories
Center for Consumer Engagement: Consumer stories
Commonwealth Care Alliance: Member stories
Nurse Family Partnership: Stories from first-time moms

Sources and Recommended Reading:

Housing First Patient Stories: Robert Jackson
Expanding Care Management to Camden Moms with Camden Delivers
“Safe and Secure,” South Jersey Magazine (April 2016)
“California HIE Brings Together Health, Social Services Data on Homeless Population,” Healthcare Informatics (October 13, 2016)