Challenges in SDOH

The term social determinants of health (SDOH) has been a red-hot topic in the US healthcare system lately.  Addressing SDOH is an exciting opportunity to drive change in a system plagued by astronomical prices and inconsistent results. The idea behind addressing SDOH is simple: if we can determine how social factors like socioeconomic status, education, environment, employment, social support networks, and access to  health care contribute to poor health outcomes and drive overall cost, we can create interventions that are aimed at improving the social issues that will in turn save money and make people healthier. The possibilities for improvement are pronounced, but there are many barriers that need to be identified and surmounted before meaningful change can be realized.    


In November 2018 Spring Street Exchange hosted a visioning palooza on SDOH in Boston, MA. The point of the session was to draw together leaders from across various sectors of healthcare to discuss the topic of SDOH and start to envision the future of healthcare if fully integrated with social determinants of health. Participants shared challenges they were experiencing in implementing meaningful SDOH programming. Spring Street Exchange collected their thoughts and distilled them into six categories expressed in the attached document.  

We at Spring Street are obsessed with identifying SDOH barriers and envisioning the path forward. We’d love to hear more about challenges you have faced and any successful interventions you have tried to overcome them!