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Social Drivers: a different approach to address American Health Care

Social Drivers: a different approach to address American Health Care

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America’s life expectancy is not doing pretty good in terms of standing against other countries such as Turkey, Portugal and Slovenia despite having to spend %4 trillion every year on health care. If in the past we have looked at the problem within the four corners of healthcare facilities, improving services, better equipment, right nurse-to-patient ratio, more research and development to prevent or cure more diseases, but this does not seem to solve much of the issues. Now, organizations are looking at a different angle to further address the healthcare problems by going outside the walls of facilities and look at the situation of American people. 

One basic necessity that is being addressed is access to healthy and nutritious meals. There are hospitals now launching food pharmacies to sell fresh ingredients and even offering cooking classes to educate more people on preparing healthier foods at home.

Another aspect is to create affordable housing so American people who do not have shelter, those that are low-income or on the risk of losing their house can avail and have a better housing setup. Kaiser Permanente is one of the organizations that pledged $400 million to a social impact investment fund. Six other large health care systems also plan to provide 400 apartments. These initiatives are being started in several cities such as Portland, Toronto and Denver.

These initiatives are just some of the things that can impact the lives of the people. It’s a start but this definitely requires more partnerships and strong commitment in order to sustain these efforts. If it’s even possible, it would be great to address the issues two-fold. One on treatment and the other one on prevention. Prevention involves looking at the daily life of American people and making sure they are in a healthy environment, that they are being constantly educated about their health, as well as providing more options so people can make healthy choices for themselves.