Experts contend that healthcare providers are starting to catch on to the importance social determinants of health play at the individual and patient population levels and that, increasingly, the factors will inform how they can ultimately improve care.
Managing social determinants within population health is critical to improving outcomes, closing care gaps and lowering the cost curve.
As obvious as it might sound that the social and cultural networks people either have or lack can make a major impact on health, many healthcare organizations are just now starting to put two and two together on this issue, according to Karen Handmaker, vice president of population health strategies at IBM Watson Health.
Most likely this is happening because the pressure is on for providers to start thinking more about what happens outside of a doctor’s office and how it affects the patient. Despite new efforts, “none of this happens overnight,” Handmaker added.