Study considers social determinants of health


Patients with social needs experienced a higher number of hospitalizations, obesity, prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes, finds a new study from the Brown School on the social determinants of health.

Patients with social needs also were disproportionately older, female, Black, uninsured, and living in low-income and high-unemployment neighborhoods, compared with those without what’s known as a “Z-code,” which are symptoms that are not tied to a specific disorder but still need treatment.

The study found that medical providers faced barriers at multiple levels in documenting social determinants of health.

The paper, “The adoption of social determinants of health documentation in clinical settings,” was published in the print edition of the journal Health Services Research earlier this year. The lead author is Maura Kepper, a research assistant professor at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.

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