Healthify Blog

Treating Housing as Part of a Patient's Health

How Stable Housing Impacts Health

NPR recently put a spotlight on the University of Illinois Hospital's money-saving initiative to provide housing to frequent emergency room users. Those types of patients, who are often called "superutilizers" in the medical world, are people with a mix of chronic medical problems, mental health issues and homelessness that drive them to visit the hospital far more than the average patient, NPR reported.
 

The cost of those with chronic medical problems?

University of Illinois Hospital CEO Avijit Ghosh told NPR that this kind of hospital care costs about $3,000 per day for each superutilizer.
 
House-health.jpgGiven that better care can be provided to superutilizers staying in stable housing, and given the significant cost savings of freeing up emergency room spots, the University of Illinois Hospital began a pilot project to get 25 superutilizers into housing using $250,000 of its own money, according to NPR.
 
The program is significantly lowering the hospital's costs, bringing the bill from $3,000 per day per patient to $1,000 per month per patient, NPR reported.
 
NPR reported that the superutilizers also get a case manager who helps them do things like schedule doctor's appointments instead of going to the ER. 
 

Using Technology to Reduce Health Care Costs

From Healthify's perspective, programs like the one at the University of Illinois Hospital recognize that housing and other social determinants of health often have a bigger impact on a person's health than medical care.
 
For its part, Healthify acts on that idea by providing the technology to efficiently connect underserved people to social programs that can meet their basic needs such as food and shelter. The goal is to help them get on the path to better health, and in turn, reduce health costs for society as a whole.
 
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Image Credit: hatdc.org
Topics: healthcare delivery social determinants of health housing insecurity