Social Determinants of Health 101

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WHAT ARE SOCIAL DETERMINANTS OF HEALTH?  

The term social determinants of health (or SDoH for short) has become a buzz word in the health and human services realm. 

But what exactly are they? 

The CDC defines SDoH as the “conditions where people live, learn, work, and play that affect a wide range of health and quality of life risks and outcomes.” Put simply, they consist of factors besides healthcare that impact our health. Check out the infographic below for a breakdown of SDoH examples. 

While these determinants are broad, they have very important implications for our health. 


WHY ARE SOCIAL DETERMINANTS OF HEALTH IMPORTANT? 

Understanding what SDoH are is only part of the equation. What makes them so important? 

Although they are not historically included with health care, they are some of the strongest predictors of an individual’s health. SDoH can provide a missing puzzle piece to healthcare outcomes, creating more successful solutions. 

Researchers at the Weill Cornell Medicine found that SDoH can help doctors more accurately predict fatal coronary heart disease in their patients. By looking at the social factors facing these individuals, such as access to transportation and civic participation, medical experts could better assess the whole person.  

Some experts argue that lower health outcomes in the US may be due to our “medicalized” approach. While we focus on medical interventions, our systems traditionally ignore other factors that can have a much larger impact on health outcomes. 

The American Action Forum reports that, although 95% of health spending goes toward medical care, it only accounts for about 15% of an individual’s health. Social and physical environment, key pieces of SDoH, make up 5 percentage points more of our health than traditional care. When you consider that personal behavior can be directly impacted by social determinants, SDoH can influence as much as 65% of total health.

 

HOW CAN YOU INCORPORATE SOCIAL DETERMINANTS OF HEALTH? 

With a bigger perspective on what SDoH are and why they are important, we next ask ourselves: how can we incorporate them into our organizations? 

Look through the infographic below for five ways to do exactly that. 

Eccovia is committed to using SDoH to better health and human services, which is why our case management platform ClientTrack™  is an industry leader for SDoH. We help programs record SDoH data, analyze it in meaningful ways, and coordinate with other community services to maximize impact.  

The more we understand about SDoH, the more effective our programs can become. Using SDoH helps create a more substantial whole person care approach, which in turn better serves each individual. 

 

ENJOY THIS ARTICLE? YOU’LL LOVE THESE:

Five Ways Human Rights Can Inform SDoH

The Two-Way Relationship Between Mental Health and SDoH

 
Sources Used:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/socialdeterminants/index.htm  
  1. https://www.who.int/health-topics/social-determinants-of-health#tab=tab_1 
  1. https://www.americanactionforum.org/research/understanding-the-social-determinants-of-health/  
  1. https://www.healthsystemtracker.org/chart-collection/know-social-determinants-health-u-s-comparable-countries/#item-u-s-highest-rate-years-life-lost-disability-premature-death-due-firearm-assaults  
  1. https://www.healthleadersmedia.com/clinical-care/5-ways-healthcare-organizations-can-address-social-determinants-health  

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