Sick guy with dog Communicatingwith injured workers at the beginning of a claim, identifying theSDoH and resolving the circumstances that could impact recovery arekey to speeding recovery and driving down costs. (Photo:Shutterstock)

Stakeholders within the nation's health care system have longunderstood what is becoming increasingly obvious to the workers'compensation industry: Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) have anenormous impact on health outcomes and injured workers are noexception. In fact, research suggests that medical care accountsfor only 10 to 20 percent of health outcomeswhile the other 80 to 90 percent are attributed to demographic,environmental and socioeconomic factors.

As SDoH take center stage in the discussion surroundingtreatment of workplace injuries, these nonclinical issues,including socioeconomic status, transportation barriers, housingproblems, food insecurity and other basic human needs–includingloneliness–play a significant role in patientengagement, recovery and return-to-work. It is important to consider theworker's overall situation and prevent seemingly minor non-clinicalissues from creeping into catastrophic claims. Claims thatinitially seem routine may become complex when SDoH factors areinvolved.

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