Many recent studies suggest that 15-20% of all health outcomes are directly related to a person’s social situation.  Another study suggests that up to 60% of people experience some impact on their health based on their social situation.  The health care industry refers to these social factors as Social Determinants of Health. 
 
So, what exactly is a social determinant of health?  These are factors not directly related to your health that can nevertheless have an impact on a person’s health.  They include housing issues, transportation, finances, and other factors that can impact a person’s ability to access basic medical needs. For example, someone with transportation issues may have difficulty getting to doctor appointments, testing, or they may have trouble getting to the pharmacy to fill prescriptions in a timely manner.  It’s easy to see how lapses in medication can have an adverse effect on one’s health.  Financial hardship can make accessing even the most basic needs difficult, not only medications, but basic needs such as food, adequate clothing and adequate shelter. 
 

We have become increasingly aware that these factors can significantly impact health outcomes.  As your medical home, we have taken steps to identify these issues and provide people with resources to address them.  If you have been to the office since January 1, you were given a questionnaire asking about some of these issues.  Please be assured that this information is protected by the same confidentiality that all of your medical information is protected.  It is not our desire to embarrass anyone, as we understand that this can be a sensitive subject for some.  We have case managers on staff who can help those in need find assistance in dealing with these issues.   
 
We are addressing these social determinants of health in an effort to provide more comprehensive, more effective care in order to give you the best chance at a good health outcome.