80% of Health Outcomes Are NOT Due To Medical Factors

The future of healthcare is really going to be driven by our ability to interpret social needs data. Having a guide and more data, so we can understand the patients’ lives beyond the four walls of the hospital.   A patient’s socioeconomic circumstances are the social determinants of health (SDOH).  Where you live also plays a big role in your health outcome and we call this physical environment of health (PEOH).

Eighty percent of what affects health outcomes is associated with factors outside the traditional boundaries of healthcare delivery—health behaviors (tobacco use, sexual activity), social and economic factors (employment, education, income), and physical environment (air quality, water quality). When healthcare delivery systems expand their interactions with people in these territories, now the purview of the public health system, outcomes will improve.

Social & physical determinants of health look at the following factors:
  • Transportation
  • Housing
  • Financial 
  • Food
  • Substance abuse
  • Sexual activity 
  • Social isolation
  • Education
  • Employment 
  • Air quality 
  • Water quality 
  • Access to green space, parksbeaches

The U.S. spends more on healthcare, yet has a lower life expectancy and worse health outcomes, than any other high-income nation according to study from the Commonwealth Fund.   Why the disparity? Other countries have been doing something the U.S. has not—applying public health concepts to chronic disease management.

The economic models of countries such as France, Germany, and Norway align with controlling costs while producing better outcomes. As an illustration, private healthcare spending in the U.S. is five times that of the second-highest spending country (Canada). And despite this astronomical private spend, the U.S. is also third-highest in public spending, despite only covering 34 percent of residents through public programs including Medicare and Medicaid.


Did you know that the USA and New Zealand are also the only Countries that allow big pharma drug advertising on television?  Most of my friends who grew up in England or Australia think the US is nuts for allowing this.

Approximately 3.6 million Americans struggle to access healthcare because they don’t have reliable transportation.

As many as 1 in 8 Americans are food insecure or dependent on a local food bank or meal delivery service, to address gaps in nutrition for better health outcomes.

78% of providers lack the data to identify patients' social needs

Many providers have basic demographic information on their patient populations but are missing the more sophisticated insights that could help them better support patients to prioritize health. So, what should you be looking for?

Here is a service provided by Experian that will give Doctors access to some social data.


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