CentraForce Health Observations and Insights

SDoH: What Are The Limits?

Posted by Stephen L. Newman M.D. on Feb 10, 2020 10:51:11 AM

Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) represent a powerful shift in the way healthcare providers and payers think about the people they serve. Over the last several years, the healthcare industry has explored quantitative ways to measure the health-related behaviors that contribute to the overall health of patients. SDoH have risen to the surface of this effort and are becoming the universal standard for measuring the social and economic factors that play such an important role in health outcomes.

Healthy People 2020, a government-supported response to SDoH, approaches SDoH using “A ‘place-based’ organizing framework, reflecting five (5) key areas of social determinants of health (SDOH).” The five determinants, found here, are as follows: Economic Stability, Education, Social and Community Context, Health and Health Care, and Neighborhood and Built Environment.

When used as a framework to shape the way payers and providers think about their attributed lives, this view of SDoH is very helpful, especially since it allows providers to get a better understanding of the people in the zip codes they serve. However, the picture revealed using these five categories is often difficult or impossible to impact. Acknowledging the fact that a population’s economic stability has a direct impact on their health outcomes is an important step, but healthcare professionals usually do not have the resources or means to change that population’s economic state. In short, SDoH are interesting, but not actionable.

Providers and payers deserve a framework that allows them to not only understand but directly affect the health and health-related behaviors that directly impact health outcomes. That is why CentraForce Health has taken the framework of SDoH one step further and developed the 107 Comprehensive Determinants of Health™ (CDoH) scores. These scores do not simply quantify the propensity of a population to exhibit SDoH factors, rather, they measure the risk associated with each behavior. This includes SDoH behaviors, such as the risk that a patient or population is experiencing social isolation, but also analyzes the risk that a patient or population will misuse medications, alcohol, tobacco, or exercise. These are behaviors that providers and payers can directly affect using education and communication.

Want to learn more about the CDoH approach? Download our SDoH whitepaper for more information and insights.

SDoH Whitepaper

Read next in series -> SDoH: Why Behaviors Matter

Topics: Social Determinants of Health

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