The concept of holistic, or whole person, care continues to gain traction as the best way to address the healthcare sector’s overall mission of improved health outcomes, lower costs and improved patient experiences. Understanding the role of social determinants of health (SDOH) has become a primary focus for providers, payers, consumers and government agencies because of their demonstrated impact on the health status of many high-risk individuals in our country.
Economic stability, and its contributing factors, are a fundamental determinant currently impacting the health and well-being of many individuals. Daily struggles around unemployment, poverty, housing instability and food insecurity all contribute to an increased risk of poor health outcomes for vulnerable groups of people. Some might argue that it is not the healthcare system’s role to solve these problems; however, it is clear that identifying and empowering individuals to overcome the barriers raised by economic instability and other SDOH is the only way that our system can meet the healthcare needs of the most vulnerable in our society.