Social determinants of health–factors such as poverty, housing, education and access to transportation–play a key role in patients’ health decisions and health outcomes. A growing number of clinicians are looking for innovative ways to help address these social determinants, but identifying these issues is a challenge. Fortunately, social determinants of health data can be captured automatically during the intake process.

Social determinants of health infographic

In this infographic, we leverage data points to illustrate what social determinants of healthcare are, how they impact patients’ health behaviors and health outcomes, the high costs related to healthcare disparities, and physicians’ growing awareness of the impacts of social determinants of health. The infographic also explores the challenges of collecting SDOH data at scale—and why automated patient intake can help.

Click the image to view the full-sized infographic.
An infographic showing social determinants of health by the numbers

 

SOCIAL DETERMINANTS OF HEALTH INFOGRAPHIC

Social determinants of health (SDOH) are the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, learn, work, play, worship and age that impact their health and quality of life.

Social determinants of health examples include:

  • NEIGHBORHOOD
  • INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE
  • POVERTY
  • ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE
  • EMPLOYMENT
  • EDUCATION LEVEL
  • SOCIAL SUPPORTS
  • ACCESS TO HEALTHY FOOD OPTIONS
  • HOUSING
  • RACISM

Social determinants of health are key drivers of both individual health behaviors and health outcomes.

Impact of Different Factors on Risk of Premature Death1
Health and Well-Being

  • Individual Behavior: 40%
  • Genetics: 30%
  • Social & Environmental Factors: 20%
  • Healthcare: 10%

Zip Code is a more powerful predictor of health than genetic code2

One of the key drivers of poor health outcomes is concentrated poverty.

Poor housing and housing instability are associated with higher levels of stress, depression, anxiety and adverse health outcomes in children and adults.3

Children of parents who don’t finish high school are more likely to live in environments that contain barriers to health.4

Stress from housing insecurity, exposure to violence and other factors has a direct impact on health.4

Children, particularly those living in poverty, who are exposed to adverse childhood experiences are susceptible to toxic stress and a variety of pediatric and adult health problems, including developmental delay, asthma and heart disease.4

The richest 1% of Americans are expected to live as many as 14 years longer than the poorest 1%.5

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation: 30% of direct medical costs for blacks, Hispanics and Asian-Americans are excess costs related to health inequities. In addition, the U.S. economy loses an estimated $309 billion annually due to the direct and indirect costs of health disparities.

PHYSICIANS’ AWARENESS OF THE IMPACT OF SOCIAL DETERMINANTS OF HEALTH IS GROWING

80% of surveyed primary care physicians acknowledged the importance of SDOH, but said they do not yet feel comfortable addressing them.6

When clinicians have access to data about patients’ social needs, they can proactively seek out interventions and provide more informed, comprehensive care.

FEE-FOR-SERVICE SYSTEM IS AN OBSTACLE
But new efforts like the Comprehensive Primary Care Plus Initiative and the Accountable Health Communities Model are showing promise in addressing SDOH and improving population health.

Capturing the data in a consistent and standardized way is still a challenge.

GOOD NEWS!

Data for many social determinants of health can be captured automatically during the intake process, including:

  • HOUSING STATUS
  • TRANSPORTATION
  • ACCESS TO HEALTHY FOOD
  • INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE
  • ZIP CODE
  • EDUCATION
  • SOCIAL SUPPORTS
  • INCOME

Sources:

  1. Schroeder, SA. (2007). “We Can Do Better – Improving the Health of the American People,” NEJM. 357:1221-8.
  2. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2009
  3. Center for Housing Policy Insights, 2015
  4. “Beyond Health Care: The Role of Social Determinants in Promoting Health and Health Equity,” Kaiser Family Foundation, Nov. 4, 2015
  5. “Inequality and the Healthcare System in the USA,” The Lancet, April 2017
  6. “Healthcare’s Blind Side,” Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2011