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VIDEO: ZIP code, not gene code – Social factors shape patients’ health



– What happens outside the exam room often plays a crucial, and crucially overlooked, role in how well or poorly patients respond to medical therapy.

Social determinants – from the bus ride to a clinic to fitting medication compliance into a three-job work day – are at the center of a new push by the American College of Physicians to improve patient care and awaken physicians to the nonmedical factors that frustrate treatment and fuel outcomes failures.

When it comes to patients’ health, American College of Physicians President Jack Ende, MD, says it’s often ZIP code, not gene code, that can make all the difference.

At the annual meeting of the American College of Physicians, Dr. Ende of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; Sarah Candler, MD, of Baylor College of Medicine, Houston; and Karen DeSalvo, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, outlined how physicians can look beyond biology and into patients’ social environments, and they shared resources physicians can use to counter social determinants that harm health.

The ACP published a position paper on social determinants of health in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Dr. Candler's interview:

Dr. DeSalvo's interview:

Dr. Ende's interview:

SOURCE: Ann Intern Med. 2018 Apr 17;168(8):577-8.

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