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Social Determinants of Health Being Addressed

According to a recent article in Lancet, The gross inequalities in health seen within and between countries present a challenge to the world. That there should be a spread of life expectancy of 48 years among countries and 20 years or more within countries is not inevitable. A growing volume of research identifies social factors at the root of much of these inequalities in health. Social determinants are relevant to communicable and non-communicable disease alike. Health status should be of concern to policy makers in every sector, not solely those involved in health policy. As a response to this global challenge, WHO is launching a Commission on Social Determinants of Health, which will review the evidence, raise societal debate, and recommend policies with the goal of improving health of the world’s most vulnerable people. A major thrust of the Commission is turning public-health knowledge into political action.  Source: Science Direct

Kaiser Permanente  tackles social determinants of health through electronic health record interface with community organizations. In three years when one of Kaiser Permanente’s members has a need related to social determinants of health, a referral to an appropriate community organization will be as simple as ordering a test from within the electronic health record (EHR). And, once the platform and network are established, the Oakland, California, nonprofit integrated health system plans to open the “Thrive Local” program to other interested health plans and health systems. Thrive Local’s social services directory will be continuously updated, providing access to a network of nonprofit public and private resources that address needs related to housing, food, transportation, safety, utilities, and more.

To launch this initiative, Kaiser Permanente is partnering with Unite Us, which develops software that connects health and social service providers through the EHR. By the first quarter of 2020, each of Kaiser’s eight regions, which operate in eight states and the District of Columbia, and currently serve 12.2 million members, will have a pilot in effect. Kaiser is already engaged in other initiatives to address  social determinants of health, such as affordable housing.

Read more in HealthLeaders Media

Learn more about the Kaiser Permanente initiative and relationship with Unite Us in Fierce Healthcare




Contact Alexis Hertel at

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