Social determinants of health (SDOH) have been talked about for years, but the COVID-19 pandemic has proved beyond a doubt how powerfully they impact patient outcomes. Data shows that socioeconomically disadvantaged populations globally are over-represented among COVID-19 cases and deaths. Yet, such data may only be the tip of the iceberg.
Over the past 18 months, the number of patients receiving preventive services has dropped drastically. As a result of delayed care, many experts predict we soon will see an increase in severe and late-stage diagnoses. That means more complex and costlier situations in terms of economic, physical, and mental health impact. SDOH such as food insecurity, lack of transportation, job uncertainty, and medical deserts compound the influence of care delays and can affect an astounding 80% of patient outcomes.
So the question is this: How do we address SDOH to resume preventive care for those who need it most?
Addressing SDOH is complicated. It cannot be solved without collaboration. The old adage “It takes a village” truly applies here. While providers often focus on putting sophisticated population health technologies in place to grasp SDOH, data is just one piece of the puzzle. Equally important is a well-defined and collaborative action plan.
Dr. Joe Nicholson is the CMO of CareAllies. Check out the CareAllies Exhibit Booth!