Teaching Medical Students about the Social Determinants of Health Improves Patient Care
When a patient comes seeking care, typically providers identify symptoms, diagnose, treat, and send the patient on their way with a care plan. But what happens when the patient returns presenting the provider with the exact same issue from the first visit? Are these patients treated exactly the same way again and simply deemed noncompliant?
Today, many teaching hospitals and medical schools are advocating a different approach. They are training residents and medical students on the social determinants of health. Instead of following the traditional model where physicians focus on the presenting illness, diagnosis, and treatment, they are asking these new physicians to identify the social circumstances or behavioral health conditions that are at the root of health issues.