Monday, June 10, 2013
Despite strong evidence linking patients’ social circumstances to their health, little guidance exists for health care practitioners and institutions on addressing social needs in clinical settings. Current approaches to social determinants generally focus on population-level and policy interventions; these overlook individual and clinical innovations within health care that can address patients’ social circumstances. This article proposes a framework for how social determinants interventions in the health care system can be construed across three tiers—patient, institution, and broader population—and describes ways to collect data and target interventions at these levels. The authors include medical-legal partnership in this discussion.