When to Account for the Patient? The Effect of Clinical Treatment of Social Determinants of Health on Patient Health Outcomes

37 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2021

See all articles by Kellas Cameron

Kellas Cameron

University of South Florida - School of Information Systems and Management

Deepti Singh

California State University, Long Beach - College of Business Administration

Date Written: January 27, 2021

Abstract

Due to the ever-increasing availability of personalized patient information, it is vital for us in healthcare operations management to understand how physicians utilize this information to make their treatment decisions. One set of information that medical educators have encouraged clinicians to account for are a patient’s social determinants of health (SDOH), as we know from the personalized medicine literature that acknowledging patient-specific uniqueness is associated with optimal health outcomes. However, in circumstances where physicians receive no formal training in patient sensitivity, we posit that physicians may still intuitively adjust treatment programs from standard practices due to the influence of a patient’s socioeconomic status. It is crucial to understand how SDOH driven treatment adjustments are taking place and how they affect a patient’s short-term and long-term health outcomes. We explore using a two-phase model whether SDOH factors affect the quality of care a patient receives during initial treatment visits and whether these variations in quality significantly impact readmission likelihood. Our data show physicians do account for SDOH when making treatment decisions, but these adjustments do not impact long-term health outcomes. However, SDOH factors still impact readmission likelihood, indicating that physician treatment adjustments are having an indirect effect on patient engagement post-care.

Keywords: Physician Behavior, Patient Engagement, Healthcare Analytics, Dual Process Theory, Behavioral Operations, Evidence-Based Medicine

Suggested Citation

Cameron, Kellas and Singh, Deepti, When to Account for the Patient? The Effect of Clinical Treatment of Social Determinants of Health on Patient Health Outcomes (January 27, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3778987 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3778987

Kellas Cameron (Contact Author)

University of South Florida - School of Information Systems and Management ( email )

Tampa, FL 33620
United States

Deepti Singh

California State University, Long Beach - College of Business Administration ( email )

1250 Bellflower Blvd.
Long Beach, CA 90840
United States

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