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Social Determinants of Health & Transportation

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Factors such as community settings and environmental circumstances can affect a person's well-being and health, not just one's inherited traits and lifestyle choices. This concept is referred to as social determinants of health (SDoH). These determinants are typically categorized into five main categories: economic stability, educational access, health care quality and access, neighborhood and built environment, and social and community context. For instance, exposure to discrimination or racism can affect a person's employment opportunities. On the other hand, lack of access to Non-Emergency Medical Transportation(NEMT) can lead to health problems for patients.

The major SDoH groups can contribute to a person's health, and the barriers of entry that prevent them from accessing these areas can have detrimental effects. For example, the availability of transportation can directly affect the health outcomes of individuals. Having a ride to get around efficiently is one of the most crucial factors that people consider when it comes to improving their wellness.

People from certain groups are more prone to experiencing transportation problems than demographics. The people that experience the most issues are:

  • Elder adults with disabilities;

  • Veterans;

  • Residents of Rural Areas; and

  • Lower income individuals

Even though there are different challenges faced by each group, each can benefit from:

  • In-home healthcare services;

  • Essentials such as food and medications be delivered;

These solutions can help address some of the social determinants of health, which include lack of food and access to healthcare for these individuals. Although these solutions can help combat the effects of SDoH, they are not all-inclusive. For many people, in-office care is still required to maintain their health. Besides regular medical care, remote patient monitoring and nutritious meals are also important for long-term health.

Transportation ends up being the last piece of the puzzle, and helps people improve the quality of their life, which can include getting educational and employment opportunities, going to scheduled medical appointments, and connecting with their friends and relatives. Access to transportation can additionally provide the people with a consistent means of accessing essential daily needs, such as food, groceries, and pharmacies. Getting around efficiently is one of the most crucial factors that SDoH-affected people should consider when it comes to maintaining wellness.