A conversation between Karen Jagoda of Empowered Patient Podcasts and Dr. Mike Dulin, the Chief Medical Officer of Gray Matter Analytics and a professor at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte in the Department of Public Health Sciences where he directs the Academy for Population Health Innovation.
Dr. Dulin emphasizes that almost 80% of health outcomes are driven by social determinants. In addition to the traditional environmental determinants including access to food, transportation, a safe place to exercise, and health care, the strength of the patient's social network needs to be considered as well.
Dr. Dulin explains, "Perhaps most importantly, and one area that we don't consider a lot is the social network. But often, your behaviors are driven by your social network, your peers, your friends, your family members. Their behaviors are really important in terms of shaping and determining yours. We've even found things like depression and mood can run through a social network. Well, other important factors like smoking and exercise and a healthy diet are also determined by your social network."
"The other component that I think is extremely important for us to remember as healthcare providers is that the data and the collection of the data can also cause stigma. People often may be embarrassed about not having access to certain services or unwilling to share it, or feel like it's not something that they can share directly with their physician."