Current health systems focus is on clinical care. However, it is necessary to view health as a holistic measure of an individual's entire living situation and life experience. These factors that strongly affect an individuals overall quality of health are the determinants of health.
Extending far beyond medical care, these factors can be used to improve health within the clinical, population, and public health spaces.
The Determinants of Health is available as a poster, an installation, a download, and an interactive visualization. Contact us to order a print.
HOW CAN WE USE THE DETERMINANTS?
By having care providers take greater care in learning about a patient's life experience and obtaining a better understanding of how these experiences impact a patient's overall health, they will be able to gtive patients better treatment and more accurate diagnoses due to improved undersatnding of contextual information surrounding the patient.
In the US there is currently no national standardized health record (SHR). Among the health records that do exist, they are primarily focused on storing clinical information. The determinants of health can be used to create an SHR that views health not just at a clinical level, but at a holistic level. Patients should be able to access information that is relevant both inside and outside the clinical space, giving further opportunity for improved intervention and self-driven care.
Greater breadth of data correlating to people and communities will dramatically increase the pool of contextual health data. More targeted public health interventions and policies can be administered. Data scientists would be able to design improved predictive population health models that would be able to more easily track health trends on a large scale, as well as predict future trends and areas of improvement across the country.
The implementation of the determinants of health paired with the creation of the standard health record (SHR) would result in massive amounts of contextual data that would be available for clinicians, students, patients and laboratories across the country. This new data would enable researchers to track health trends and discover new relatioinships between non-clinical factors and our health.
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The 5 main determinants of health (genetics, medical care, social circumstances, environment, and individual behavior) were chosen due to their consistency across the following 7 out of 8 organizations:
The 29 macrodeterminants and 66 microdeterminants below each main category were found by compiling the determinant lists of the previously mentioned organizations.
The section below documents our analysis of the data and how we calculated the final impact percentages for the 5 main categories of determinants.
The relative contribution of each of the determinant categories to one’s health was found using the estimated values referenced by the seven primary sources listed below.
Each determinant category was then averaged based on the values from each of the aforementioned sources (the methodology in the primary sources were different depending on the source. The final percentages should therefore be an estimate and not be viewed as absolute numbers).
Behavior: (50 + 38 + 40 + 39 + 36 + 45 + 30) / 6 = 46.33.
Social: (15 + 40) / 2 = 27.5.
Genetics: (20 + 30) / 2 = 25.
Medical care: (10 + 10 + 20) / 3 = 13.33.
Environment: (20 + 7 + 5 + 5.4 + 3 + 10) / 6 = 8.4.
The ratio for each determinant was then found by taking the average values found for each of the determinant categories and dividing them by the total determinant value.
Behavior: 46.33 / 120.56 = 38.43%.
Social: 27.5 / 120.56 = 22.81%.
Genetics: 25 / 120.56 = 20.74%.
Medical care: 13.33 / 120.56 = 11.06%.
Environment: 8.4 / 120.56 = 7%.
Total: 38.43 + 22.81 + 20.74 + 7 + 11.06 = 100.4%.
The final percentages are as follows.
Behavioral determinants at 38%.
Social determinants at 23%.
Genetic determinants at 21%.
Medical care determinants at 11%.
Environmental determinants at 7%.