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Measuring the effect of social determinants on patient outcomes: A systematic literature review

A.J. Knighton, B. Stephenson, L.A. Savitz
J Health Care Poor Underserved

Given the movement towards value-based purchasing in the United States, health care leaders need methods to characterize and address the complex effect that social determinants have on health care outcomes. This systematic literature review was specifically designed to understand current research on the effect that patient material and social deprivation has on health care delivery outcomes and the potential benefit of clinical interventions designed to mediate this effect. A total of 310 studies were identified for review with 80 studies included in the final synthesis. Results highlight significant variation in the methods used to measure the effect of social determinants on health care outcomes and the need for common measurement standards. More robust identification of deprivation-sensitive diseases or conditions is needed to channel scarce program resources to effected conditions. Finally, further research is needed to evaluate the benefits of data-driven, tailored clinical interventions designed to serve the needs of materially-deprived patient populations.

Knighton AJ, Stephenson B, & Savitz LA. Measuring the effect of social determinants on patient outcomes: A systematic literature review. J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2018: 29(1), 81-106. PMID: 29503290. DOI: 10.1353/hpu.2018.0009.

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Publication year
Resource type
Peer Reviewed Research
Health & Health Behaviors
Social Needs/ SDH
Social Determinant of Health
Not Specified
Study design