As healthcare professionals, we are constantly looking for ways to improve the health outcomes of our patients. One way to do this is by providing social services and assistance with their social determinants of health (SDOH). SDOH refers to the conditions in which people live, work, and play that can impact their overall well-being. These include education, income, housing quality, and access to healthy food options.
When these SDOHs are addressed through social services or other forms of support, it can lead to improved patient outcomes. According to an HHS report released on April 1, 2022, clinical care impacts only 20 percent of the county-level variation in health outcomes, while SDOH affect as much as 50 percent. Studies have shown that interventions explicitly related to addressing these issues can result in better physical health outcomes, including reduced risk for chronic disease development or exacerbation; improved mental/behavioral health; increased life expectancy; fewer hospitalizations due to decreased morbidity rates; lower utilization of emergency departments visits resulting in cost savings; and enhanced quality-of-life indicators such as increased self-esteem.
Ultimately, providing resources aimed at helping patients address their underlying socioeconomic needs should be considered part of any comprehensive treatment plan when seeking optimal care results from our most vulnerable population groups.
So, where do we go from here? If you’re a medical group looking to participate in Value-Based Care contracts, we highly recommend addressing SDOH as part of your plan. If you can automate SDOH screening and interventions at the point of care, healthcare costs will be reduced, and readmission rates should also decrease.
If you want to learn more about how Curago can help you take action on Social Determinants of Health for your patient population, contact us today!