Social work, cost and health outcomes: A systematic review
Methods: This paper, presents findings from a systematic review of articles published in English between 1994 and 2014in social science and medical databases, applying using search terms of "social work," AND "cost," AND "health.” Cochrane Intervention Reviews methodological standards were applied. Articles were included if they (a) evaluated a “social work” or “social service” intervention ; (b) reported physical health outcomes; and (c) referenced an economic evaluation component.
Results: Of 677 identified articles, only 20 (3%) met inclusion criteria. Among these, 85% of interventions were led by other disciplines, and 35% of studies did not clearly define the social worker’s role. Results of these studies indicated that social work involvement in health care is generally cost effective, improving patient-level health outcomes and generating systems-level cost savings.
Conclusions: As more disciplines become poised to assume traditional social work functions, more research on the economic value of social work interventions is needed. Studies employing cost-effectiveness, cost-savings, and cost-utility analyses of social work must be prioritized.
Learning Areas:Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Administration, management, leadership
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Social and behavioral sciences
Discuss with existing literature on social work, cost and health Assess SW outcomes in light of the limitations of current literature Identify future directions for social work cost-related research
Keyword(s): Affordable Care Act, Social Work
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am one of the individuals who performed the systematic review.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.