A growing body of research indicates that social determinants of health have a significant impact on health care utilization and outcomes. Researchers and policymakers in the United States have spent decades exploring and discussing approaches to integrating health care and social services. While no nation has a truly integrated system, many other industrialized nations invest more heavily in social services than the United States, and are more effective in integrating these services with health care. Integrating health care and social services, such as accessible housing, meals and nutrition services, transportation, and caregiver training, is particularly important for those facing serious illness who typically encounter multiple chronic conditions, pain and other symptoms, functional dependency, frailty, and significant family caregiver needs.
In an effort to better understand and facilitate discussions about the challenges and opportunities related to integrating health care and social services for people with serious illness, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine held a full-day public workshop on July 19, 2018 in Washington, DC. The workshop featured a broad range of experts and stakeholders including researchers, policy analysts, patient and family caregiving advocates, and representatives of federal agencies. This publication summarizes the presentations and discussions from the workshop.