Social Determinants Of Health: Another Healthcare Fad? | FierceHealthcare


Social Determinants Fad?

For something supposedly so rooted in science, it is amazing how many “health care” fads come and go. Eggs were bad for you then good for you. Fats were lethal and now OK. Managed Care and HMOs would save everyone so much money but now we need Value Based Care. Could the latest be a social determinants fad?

Sometimes “health care” feels like we are trapped in a  3 Card Monte street hustle. We keep picking what seems right and logical… only to find that we lost again. But wait! There is another round of choices that are even better… just pick one!

It would be, however, especially sad if there were a social determinants fad. Study after study has shown that 80% or more of health is determined outside the clinical world we call “health care”. If we want to move away from our current “sick care” model that focuses only on disease management for the body and transform to a real healthcare system then we need to deal with the 80% or more that determines health.

Health plans, providers and policymakers have finally come around to thinking about how “social determinants” impact individuals’ healthcare. This somewhat academic terminology refers to the notion that social factors such as housing, food, transportation, education, income, wealth, zip code and race—all indicators of social status—are fundamental determinants of one’s health.

Academics and public health researchers have long understood this. More recently, however, insurers and providers have begun examining what they can do to address the persistent social gaps that have historically contributed mightily to health inequity.

This is a positive development in our efforts to address poor outcomes and high costs. But, in a healthcare ecosystem prone to fads, we cannot afford for social determinants of health to become just another issue of the day we quickly abandon when misguided efforts bear little fruit.

To read more please the original article: Industry Voices—Why are we treating social determinants of health as another healthcare fad? | FierceHealthcare

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