The less privileged are most affected by crises
As with most crises, the less privileged have been worst affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is not a new phenomenon. Research and real-world evidence prove time and again that our health and wellbeing are largely dictated by place of birth, socio-economic class, education and work, and age. That’s because economic stability and living conditions directly determine the extent of access to fresh, nutritious food, transport, mental health and, especially, the quality of social connections—which all affect health for better or worse.
Obstacles to change
Human bodies are powered by complex systems that have distinct yet interdependent roles. The same is true of the ecosystems that underpin social factors and influence health outcomes. Some of the most persistent barriers to consideration of SDoH are structural and institutional obstacles, including:
Experience design + advanced analytics = person-centered health
Health and social care stakeholders understand that throwing money at skyrocketing healthcare costs is the fiscal equivalent of continually mopping the floor rather than closing the tap. The current environment provides an opportunity to upend traditional approaches—putting individuals at the centre and using data, analytics and service design will deliver what is truly needed in the moments that matter.
Service design (where services are built around the true needs of users and customers) can help dive deep into who people are and the complex circumstances that affect their lives and their health. To complement service design, healthcare stakeholders need access to a broad array of data and advanced analytics capabilities. These insights will help health and social care providers understand individuals and craft personalised engagement and support to meet them where they are and, ultimately, enable better outcomes.
Do you understand the moments that matter in a person’s life?
Social factors have a vast impact on individual health and wellness. Unravelling and addressing these factors starts with a bold vision to combine new insights, technologies and partnerships and address specific needs. To move toward person-centred health, national organisation and health and social care providers need proven ways to: