The Pierce County Medical Society will soon be releasing resources for physicians to utilize to improve social determinants of health for patients in our community.
It is now accepted within the world of health care policy that the majority of patient outcomes are determined by what happens outside the walls of the clinical setting. While patient safety, appropriate access to good health through the most sensible payment/reimbursement methods, and providing the right care for every patient every time are crucial to patient outcomes, coordination with other entities about care transitions and raising population health through improving social determinants will be equally important for physicians. The evolution of the system will make the home the most important care setting for both the patient and the physician.
PCMS is designing resources that will include a series of questions for use in screening patients for shortcomings in areas such as access to good housing, nutritious food, and transportation and a referral tool indicating the appropriate agencies or organizations to send patients in need to. If a physician or practice doesn’t have the capability to refer the patient, they can refer them to the medical society and PCMS will refer them for assistance.
The idea behind providing these tools is for PCMS to do what we can right now to have an impact on reducing barriers to social determinants as part of larger efforts to improve population health--leading to better patient outcomes, reduced hospital admissions, reductions of acute conditions, and the highest levels of success for physicians. Please look for distribution of this resource before the summer.
In the meantime, CDC has provided a good FAQ about social determinants of health and it can be accessed at the link below: