The structural conditions in which Coloradans live, work, learn, and play have a larger impact on their ability to live a healthy life than the health care system does. To achieve health equity, we must ensure these conditions, known as social determinants of health (SDOH), don’t determine a person’s health outcomes or their access to timely, quality, affordable health care.
Throughout Colorado, new approaches are being tested to identify and address SDOH in health care settings. These interventions include screening and referral tools, population data, risk stratification, and workforce interventions—to name a few.
To better understand the varied approaches to integrating SDOH interventions into health care settings, we completed ten key informant interviews with project leaders. This report includes summaries of each studied intervention, classifications by their structures, and high-level recommendations for successful integrations.
Through collaboration, it is possible to mitigate the structural barriers Coloradans face to achieving their best health. Although most projects are new enough to not have robust evaluation results, Kaiser Permanente and Hunger Free Colorado have been able to demonstrate that they’ve increased the percentage of referred patients receiving resources from 5% to 78% through continual refinement of their intervention. As SDOH interventions become more common and established, it will be critical to evaluate their impact and make adjustments as needed. This redefinition of “health care” to include addressing the social determinants of health provides our greatest new opportunity to transform the health and lives of Colorado’s patients, and we look forward to seeing more of the results.SDOH Interventions