How Unmet Social Needs Cause Health Decline

Unmet social needs contribute to health decline in population.

National survey reveals that physicians believe that unmet social needs lead to worse health.

A recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive* reveals that the majority, four in five, physicians believe that if the social needs of a patient are not met it directly correlates with worse health – and that it is just as important to address their social needs as their medical conditions.

Social Needs

Social needs – such as nutritious food, transportation, safe environment, and sanitary housing – play a significant role in the health of Americans, and especially seniors. Surprisingly, traditional healthcare plays a small role (10% of contributing factors) in life expectancy. Social circumstances, environmental exposure and behavior are credited for 60% of the risk of premature death.

No Prescription Required

Physicians (85%) say that a patients’ social needs are as important to address as their medical conditions. There is no prescription required to get assistance to meet ones’ social needs. The survey revealed that if physicians had the power to write prescriptions to address social needs, such prescriptions would result in approximately one out of every seven that they would write.

The top social needs that physicians say should be addressed are fitness, nutrition, and transportation assistance.