The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized and exacerbated the wide inequities in health outcomes and access to quality care that exist for people of color, older adults, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and other individuals with complex care needs. Social care — activities to prevent and address health-related social risk factors and social needs — is one key strategy for improving health and reducing inequities among these groups. However, the pandemic has dramatically changed how we engage in care and receive social support, creating even more complications in maintaining access to care, managing chronic care needs, and addressing people’s social needs such as hunger, economic insecurity, and social isolation.
Tele-social care — telephonic or virtual engagement with individuals to prevent and address health-related social risk factors and social needs — is a key way to do so, with healthcare delivery and social service organizations across the country innovating in how they engage with and care for the communities they serve. However, tele-social care brings unique challenges compared with in-person engagement, and effective and high quality tele-social care takes intentionality in program design and delivery.
In recognition of this, colleagues from the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers and Rush University Medical Center compiled on-the-ground lessons, implications, and strategies for tele-social care into a guide for frontline staff in both the medical and social sectors. This webinar, co-hosted by the National Center for Complex Health and Social Needs, an initiative of the Camden Coalition, and by the Center for Health and Social Care Integration at Rush University Medical Center, highlighted this new resource.