Brazil's Low-Cost Approach to Community Health

eAlert a8bacff0-4000-49d3-82ec-c0f2488005ed

<p>Countries around the world are looking to reduce the need for costly hospital services while also expanding access to health care. In Brazil, health system leaders believe they’ve found a solution: the Family Health Strategy, a program that aims to provide integrated primary care through multidisciplinary professional teams featuring prominent roles for community health workers.</p><p>The Commonwealth Fund’s new series <em>Frugal Innovations in Health Care Delivery</em> launches with an in-depth look at Brazil’s cost-effective approach to ensuring preventive and basic health care in low-income communities. As reported by Hester Wadge and colleagues at Imperial College London’s Institute of Global Health Innovation, the program, begun in 1994, relies on community health workers to provide basic primary care to families at home, relay information back to health care teams, resolve low-level problems, refer more complex problems to nurses or physicians, and collect data. </p>
<p>The program, which costs $50 per person each year, has reduced mortality and improved equity and access. </p>
<p>Could a similar model work in the U.S.? Read our profile to learn more, and watch for more frugal innovations coming soon.</p> Read the case study