Novu Health Engagement Blog

Social determinants of health: What are they and how do they influence member health outcomes?

Novu Health

Although the US spends more on health care than any other nation in the world, we rank poorly on nearly every measure of health status. Why is this? One of the most significant barriers between us and better health are social determinants of health (SDoH), which include health-related knowledge and attitudes, as well as social disadvantage and inequities.


That’s why today we’re releasing Part 1 of our new white paper: Social Determinants of Health: Characteristics and Importance. In it, health plans will find scientific research focused on the social conditions in which we live and their influence on our health.


Social Determinants of Health | Part 1 | Characteristics & Importance


Specifically, we’ll delve into why some Americans are healthier than others—and why Americans more generally are not as healthy as they could be.


Individual-level factors such as access to health care and genetics obviously have a large role to play in health; however, they do not fully explain patterns of health and illness within communities and across populations. Access to economic and social resources, the quality of our schooling, the safety of our workplaces, the cleanliness of our water and air, the nature of our social interactions and relationships—all of these factors, among others, influence health outcomes in concrete ways.


For example, there have been numerous studies that show a causal relationship between SDoH factors and health issues such as: hospital readmission rates in the Medicare Advantage population, childhood obesity rates, attention deficit hyperactivity disorders in children, depression rates, and prevalence of smoking.


Download the white paper to learn more about the characteristics of SDoH and their importance to health outcomes. Plus, stay tuned for Part 2, where we’ll discuss the health care policies and programs currently addressing these issues, and Part 3, where we’ll examine the strategic imperatives of designing and implementing a holistic member engagement program that addresses social determinants.


Looking for more? Contact us to learn more about how we tailor rewards and engagement solutions to your member population using the latest in behavioral health science and health care data analytics.

Get the White Paper


About NovuHealth

NovuHealth is the health care industry’s leading consumer engagement company. Combining performance analytics, behavior science and comprehensive technology solutions, our rewards and engagement programs enable health plans to increase high-value member activities—improving member health and driving plan performance. Visit us at