Reprise: Integration of Healthcare & Social Services with Lauren Taylor

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Today we’re joined by Lauren Taylor, a health services researcher based at Harvard Business School, where is she is earning her doctorate in health policy and management. Prior to joining HBS, Lauren co-authored The American Health Care Paradox, which has become required reading at a variety of medical and public health schools across the country. Our discussion spans a range of topics and should excite clinician and policymaker listeners alike, especially those interested in addressing upstream factors that affect health in our American society.

We start with reviewing the initial research paper that lay the groundwork for her book and what other countries show us about how government spending on social services can affect health outcomes, as well as what she learned interviewing caregivers and social services workers in the US.  We also talk on how American sociopolitical factors influence our discourse on the distribution and allocation of resources as well as how research is done in her field. We discuss whether health systems are moving in the right direction addressing social determinants of health through ACOs, why management gets overlooked and undervalued as a key ingredient in healthcare delivery, and why it’s just so hard to get all of this right.

Lauren’s work focuses on organizational theory and strategy in health care, with a particular emphasis on the integration of health and social services. She holds a BA in the History of Medicine and a Master in Public Health from Yale University. She has also worked as a health care chaplain and studied ethics as a Presidential Scholar at Harvard’s Divinity School.

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This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.