Without renewed urgency, PwC healthcare leaders say medical advances will be rendered ineffective.
September 24, 2019— The rise in illnesses caused by our behaviours and the social determinants of health threatens to suffocate budgets in both wealthy and poor countries, while suppressing the power of modern medicine to improve lives. PwC’s new report “Action required: The urgency of addressing social determinants of health” outlines why healthcare stakeholders need to act now.
Social determinants of health—or the social, economic and environmental factors of where we live and work such as social isolation, economic inequality, pollution and food deserts—are preventing too many people across the globe from making healthy choices. And the impact cannot be ignored: PwC projects that by 2025, many countries will see obesity/overweight rates exceeding 68 percent of the population. By investing earlier in social determinants strategies that help people with housing, exercise, mental health support and ability to afford medications, governments and health systems stand to save money in the long term and improve health outcomes.
“Innovative medical treatments are rendered ineffective if people don’t have social support and access to resources readily available to help keep them well,” said Kelly Barnes, PwC’s Global and US Health Industries Leader. “This is not optional; healthcare and government organizations that don’t act on social determinants will spend more and more money, only to watch health status decline.”
The report’s results suggest opportunity for healthcare systems and governments to target social determinants of health by intervening earlier to prevent or stall the progress of chronic disease, especially when it comes to obesity and diabetes.
PwC has identified five steps to help stakeholders develop social determinants of health strategies:
“Leaders in social determinants of health have built coalitions, harnessed the potential of data and predictive analytics, and identified where early investments in an intervention can have tremendous impact on people’s health and lives,” said PwC’s Kelly Barnes. “We can’t underestimate the transformative effect this action can have not only on health systems and governments, but the healthy life years we can give to more people across the globe.”
For more on PwC’s new report “Action required: The urgency of addressing social determinants of health,” download the report at http://pwc.com/sdoh.
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