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Social determinants of health (SDOH) refer to a wide range of social and economic conditions that affect an individual’s health risks and outcomes. Nearly 40 percent of health outcomes are based on underlying social factors such as economic stability, employment, education, food security, housing, transportation, social support, and safety. Addressing SDOH is critical to ensuring access to high-quality care, improving outcomes, and effectively managing costs.

Opportunities for innovation we will pursue include advanced analytics to identify and predict those who may benefit from addressing social needs, design of interventions tailored to the needs and assets of individuals and communities, and development of value-based models and integrated incentives to address health more holistically.

Featured insights


National employer survey reveals behavioral health in a COVID-19 era as a major concern

– McKinsey’s annual employer survey provides insights into one of the most pressing concerns for employers, the behavioral... health of their workforce.

COVID-19: Investing in black lives and livelihoods

– The unfolding public-health and possible economic disaster of the pandemic will disproportionately affect black Americans—unless... stakeholders respond immediately.

The case for accelerating financial inclusion in black communities

– A lack of financial inclusion for black Americans exists at every level of the financial system. Understanding the sources of... exclusion is the first step to fixing the system.

Understanding the impact of unmet social needs on consumer health and healthcare

– Income, employment, education, food security, housing, transportation, safety, and social support are all factors that affect... health and well-being.

Why does prosperous King County have a homelessness crisis?

– A careful analysis reveals a primary driver of homelessness in Seattle and King County and a costly, multifaceted solution to... the problem.

The role of academic-based health systems: An interview with Catherine Jacobson and Thomas Zenty

– Catherine Jacobson, president and CEO of Froedtert Health, and Thomas Zenty, CEO of University Hospitals, explain how their academic... medical centers and academic-based health systems are finding their niche in the healthcare ecosystem. As these centers develop, how do changing consumer expectations and social determinants of health change their vision for the future?

Why social determinants matter for children’s health: An interview with Michael Fisher

– The president and CEO of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital explains how social determinants of health (e.g., education, housing,... social support) affect children’s health outcomes, and how organizations that invest and intervene early can generate both near- and long-term value.

Homelessness in the San Francisco Bay Area: The crisis and a path forward

– Homelessness in and around the San Francisco Bay Area continues to rise. Coordinated efforts among governments, nonprofits, and... the private sector could stem the crisis and spark progress.

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