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Social Determinants of Health in 2017: Awareness High, But Scarcity of Support Services Limits SDOH Linkages

While focus on social determinants of health is nearly universal across the healthcare continuum, a lack of community services hampers SDOH interventions, according to a new Healthcare Intelligence Network study.

Sea Girt, NJ, March 21, 2017 --( Cognizant of the need to promote social and physical environments conducive to optimal health, 68 percent of healthcare organizations now assess populations for social determinants of health (SDOH) as part of ongoing care management.

However, the ability to intervene on SDOH-identified populations is hampered by a lack of community services to support these individuals, say nearly one quarter of respondents to HIN's Social Determinants of Health survey.

Linkages with community services is the first response for individuals identified with SDOHs, say 78 percent of respondents to the February 2017 survey.

Of five key SDOHs identified by Healthy People 2020 - neighborhood and built environment, economic stability, health and healthcare, education, and social and community context - the health and healthcare domain garnered the most intense respondent focus. Eighty-eight percent screen their population for health and healthcare determinants, which assess access to healthcare as well as health literacy levels.

However, one-third of respondents found population needs most acute within the economic stability domain.

Download more metrics from the complimentary HINtelligence report, Social Determinants of Health in 2017: Scarcity of Supportive Services Hampers SDOH Linkages, at

News Facts: HIN's white paper, Social Determinants of Health in 2017: Scarcity of Supportive Services Hampers SDOH Linkages, summarizes February 2017 feedback from 141 hospitals and health systems, health plans, disease management and coaching organizations and others on their SDOH approaches.

This 2017 social health determinants snapshot also captures the following trends:

- While 46 percent of respondents prioritize high-risk patients for SDOH screening, 40 percent assess their entire populations for these critical socioeconomic red flags;

- Most SDOH screenings occur during comprehensive health assessments, say 57 percent;

- Almost a third - 31 percent - rely on SDOH questions embedded in electronic health records rather than standardized SDOH tools to probe patients for this sensitive data;

- Beyond a lack of community services, SDOH follow-up is hampered by patient reluctance to divulge sensitive information, say 21 percent of respondents;

- Almost four-fifths - 79 percent - of respondents report improved patient satisfaction or patient experiences that they attribute to SDOH interventions; and

- Ninety-six percent believe Medicare and other payors should reimburse healthcare providers for SDOH assessment and follow-up.

Download more metrics from the complimentary HINtelligence report, Social Determinants of Health in 2017: Scarcity of Supportive Services Hampers SDOH Linkages, at

"It is gratifying to report that the majority of healthcare providers quantify social health determinants within the populations they serve. The challenge now is to redesign care management to account for these socioeconomic factors and, most importantly, to identify and enhance services in the community to address deficits in housing, nutrition, transportation and other domains that negatively impact an individual's health."
- Melanie Matthews, HIN Executive VP and COO

For Melanie Matthews's profile, please visit

Please contact Patricia Donovan to arrange an interview or to obtain additional quotes.

About the Healthcare Intelligence Network - HIN is the premier advisory service for executives seeking high-quality strategic information on the business of healthcare. For more information, contact the Healthcare Intelligence Network, PO Box 1442, Wall Township, NJ 07719-1442, (888) 446-3530, fax (732) 449-4463, e-mail, or visit
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Patricia Donovan

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