Creshelle Nash, MD, MPH, CHIE, medical director for health equity and public programs at Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield recently spoke with HealthLeaders about how she saw these disparities first-hand, and how the COVID-19 crisis has given the national healthcare system a vehicle to address social determinants of health (SDOH) and health disparities.
By 2030, all baby boomers will be age 65 or older, increasing the already strong need for elderly care. In a 2020 report, Caregiving in the U.S., AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving identified that nearly one in five people (19%) are providing unpaid care to an adult with health or functional needs. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, when staying at home meant reducing risk of infection, the value of at-home caregivers became even more evident.
By 2022, all state and federal policy changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that expanded scope of practice should be made permanent, along with telehealth eligibility, insurance coverage, and equal payment for services provided by nurses, says The Future of Nursing 2020–2030: Charting a Path to Achieve Health Equity.
Social determinants of health such as food security and transportation are believed to have much more impact on a person’s health status than clinical care. Healthcare providers have pursued two primary strategies to address SDOH: direct investment in social determinant programs or SDOH partnerships.
Social determinants of health (SDOH) such as housing, food security, and transportation can have a pivotal impact on the physical and mental health of patients. By making direct investments in initiatives designed to address SDOH and working with partners, healthcare organizations can help their patients in profound ways beyond clinical care.
The EDSM team at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center was detailed recently in an article published by the Journal of the American Medical Association. The EDSM team at the hospital includes a patient navigator, social workers, care coordination nurses, a pharmacist, physician consultants, and specialists in transitional care, substance use, and quality improvement.
In a typical year, the seasonal influenza runs through May and can cause about 45 million illnesses, hospitalize more than 810,000 people, and claim more than 60,000 lives, according to the CDC.
SDOH factors such as food security and housing play a pivotal role in the health of individuals and populations. A landmark 2016 study published by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that socioeconomic factors, health behaviors, and the physical environment account for determining more than 80% of health outcomes, with clinical care accounting for only 16% of health outcomes.
On episode 15 of PSQH: The Podcast, host Jay Kumar talks to Dr. Joel Diamond about precision medicine and how it can help improve the quality of patient treatment.
These social and economic factors, such as housing, healthy food, and income, can drive up to 80% of health outcomes, making them critical components in any “whole-person” approach to healthcare. In general, SDoH go a long way in determining both the access and quality of care available to people.