Optimizing our clinical practice for health equity: Recognizing the social drivers of health that affect physician behavior
Social medicine, including social emergency medicine, is at its core about health equity. The poor health of individuals at the bottom of the social gradient is caused by an unequal distribution of resources. Social medicine aims to improve access and resources by considering the social determinants of health, such as living and working conditions, as part of health evaluation. Social emergency medicine focuses on how we in the ED can contribute to these efforts. One potential source of persistent health disparities is the medical encounter. The quality of patient-provider communication is linked to treatment adherence and patient outcomes. Communication barriers within the medical encounter differentially affect certain patient groups and may be a source of disparities. Mechanisms to overcome communication barriers and to optimize patient-provider interactions are thus key to the promotion of health equity.
This article is part of a special supplement: Inventing Social Emergency Medicine: A Consensus Conference to Establish the Intellectual Underpinnings of Social Emergency Medicine.
Taira BR. Optimizing our clinical practice for health equity: Recognizing the social drivers of health that affect physician behavior. Ann Emerg Med. 2019;74(5):S78-S81. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annemergmed.2019.08.465