Though the American Hospital Association doesn't keep track of how many hospitals have launched community health worker programs, an official with the group recently said it's becoming "much more common," Kaiser Health News reported.
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Ken Anderson, chief operating officer of the hospital trade group’s Health Research and Education Trust, told KHN "this area of interest seems to be very much front and center for hospitals."
In a recent report, KHN described the day-to-day activities of a community health worker, whose job is to connect patients with "resources like housing, transportation and other government benefits -- factors that influence health but aren’t the doctor’s focus."
The growing popularity of community health workers at hospitals is not surprising, given the widely accepted notion that social determinants of health can have a bigger impact on people's health than medical care.
What is also becoming more widely grasped is the notion that social determinants of health, left unaddressed, can lead to chronic health conditions and frequent emergency room visits that result in greater medical expenses for health care systems.
Using technology, Healthify seeks to efficiently connect underserved people with social programs that can meet their basic needs such as housing and food. The goal is to put them on the path toward better health, which in turn, can save money for healthcare systems.