The single most important factor in a person’s overall health is not the care they receive. It comes from the conditions where people are born, grow, work, live and age. These social determinants of health include safe and stable housing, access to healthy food, transportation, social connections, safety and environmental exposure.
 
Hospitals and health systems recognize that addressing social determinants of health is central to driving value and advancing overall well-being. Many leaders are eager to expand their care approach, but are concerned about cost, resources and even where to start.
 
At a recent executive forum in Boston presented by AHA’s The Value Initiative, I had the pleasure of speaking with a real pioneer about what hospitals can do to address the social determinants of health. It’s probably even more than you think. Kate Walsh, CEO of Boston Medical Center, shared her insights, along with her belief that most hospitals and health systems have the capability to engage with the social determinants, thereby improving value and enhancing outcomes and the patient experience.
 
We had a fantastic dialogue. Listen in by downloading the new AHA Advancing Health podcast. In addition to this conversation, you can access a growing collection of AHA’s podcasts on our webpage or find them on iTunes, Google Play and SoundCloud.
 
Brian Gragnolati 
AHA Chairman

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