Despite growing evidence documenting the impact of social factors on health, providers have rarely addressed patients’ social needs in clinical settings. But today, changes in the health care landscape are catapulting social determinants of health from an academic topic to an on-the-ground reality for providers, with public and private payers holding providers accountable for patients’ health and health care costs and linking payments to outcomes. These new models are creating economic incentives for providers to incorporate social interventions into their approach to care. Investing in these interventions can enhance patient satisfaction and loyalty, as well as satisfaction and productivity among providers. A variety of tools for addressing patients’ social needs are available to providers looking to leverage these opportunities. With the confluence of sound economics and good policy, investing in interventions that address patients’ social as well as clinical needs is starting to make good business sense.
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