It is no secret that social determinants of health play a significant role in the overall well-being of individuals and communities. What may be less known, however, is the degree to which social determinants impact disparities in health outcomes. Addressing social determinants of health is critical to achieving health equity and improving population health. Below, explore the importance of social determinants of health, how they can be addressed to achieve better health outcomes, and some examples of social determinants of health and their effects on people’s lives.
The Biggest Social Determinants of Health
The World Health Organization has defined social determinants of health as “the social, economic, and environmental conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age.” They affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes. The social determinants of health also interact with one another to influence health outcomes. For example, housing insecurity can lead to food insecurity, which can then lead to poor health outcomes.
There are many social determinants of health, but some have a more significant impact than others. A few of the most important social determinants of health include:
– Education level
– Income and wealth
– Social environment
– Physical environment
– Personal health behaviors
– Health care access and quality
Each of these social determinants of health can affect a person’s risk of developing certain diseases or health conditions, as well as how well they recover from illness or injury.
Addressing Social Determinants of Health to Achieve Health Equity
Achieving health equity requires addressing the social determinants of health. This can be done through:
– Policy and system change: Creating policies and systems that promote social determinants of health can help to create healthier environments and improve health outcomes for all.
– Individual-level interventions: These interventions seek to address social determinants of health at the individual level. They can include things like financial assistance or social support programs.
Community-level interventions: These interventions are designed to improve the social and physical environment in which people live, work, and play. They can include things like community gardens or safe walking routes.
Systemic change: This type of change addresses the social determinants of health at the root level. It can involve things like changing the way social services are delivered or improving access to education and housing.
Intelligent Insights Solutions: Solutions designed to provide SDOH analytics and insights gives population health managers the ability to more effectively target social determinants of health and reduce disparities in health outcomes.
Examples of Social Determinants of Health
Social determinants of health can have a profound effect on people’s lives. Here are a few examples:
– Education level: Individuals with higher levels of education tend to have better health outcomes. They are also more likely to have higher incomes and access to quality healthcare.
– Income and wealth: People who live in poverty are more likely to have poor health outcomes. They may not have access to healthy food or safe housing, and they may not be able to afford quality healthcare.
– Occupation: People who work in hazardous occupations (e.g., construction, mining) are at a higher risk of injury and illness. They may also have lower incomes and less access to quality healthcare.
– Social environment: social isolation can lead to poor mental health, while social support can improve mental and physical health outcomes.
– Physical environment: Poor air quality can worsen respiratory conditions, while lack of green space can lead to obesity and other chronic health conditions.
Changing Health Outcomes Through Analytics for Social Determinants of Health
The best way to solve a problem is to understand the root causes. By understanding the causes of health issues within a population, solutions can be implemented effectively. Advanced SDOH analytics solutions are the best way to gain the insights necessary to have significant impacts on the social outcomes of people around the world and organizations, both big and small.