Source: Modern Healthcare

June 24, 2019

Five hundred Facebook friends are no substitute for face-to-face interactions, but many people today are swapping digital connections for tangible ones. That’s partly why about a fifth of Americans struggle with feeling lonely, former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said Thursday.

Speaking at the AHIP Institute & Expo in Nashville, Tenn., Murthy explained that lonely people live shorter lives and are more at risk for chronic illnesses like heart disease, depression, and dementia. Moreover, public health crises like the opioid epidemic and gun violence can trace roots back to loneliness and social disconnection, he said. Tackling those crises will require healthcare companies to make fostering relationships among patients with their communities a priority.