Social Determinants of Health: What’s the big deal?

I’m sure you’ve heard a thing or two about social determinants of health (SDOH). It seems to be a topic that has grown in awareness over the past few years. Everyone from physicians organizations to healthcare tech companies appear to at least be aware of SDOH and how they may affect a patient’s clinical outcomes and overall health. In fact, as a professor, discussion of SDOH permeated most of the courses that taught, from psychosocial & mental health interventions to adult orthopedic rehabilitation. Many clinicians and healthcare professionals in school and training now receive discussion, resources, and information about SDOH. However, for many clinicians and professionals who have been out in the field, or are somewhat removed from the academic setting, SDOH can seem like a large amorphous topic. Some clinicians that I’ve spoken to even seem to think that understanding SDOH is a “good idea”, but they simply don’t have the resources and tools to “do anything practical” about it.

So, this week, I’m excited to share this conversation about SDOH. My guest this week, Josie Baker, is a Social Worker and head of social care at SODA Health. Josie and I worked together as consultants for a few years here in Georgia, helping transition individuals out of state hospitals and institutions to community settings. Prior to that project, I had heard of SDOH and understood that they had an impact of a person’s overall health & well-being, but didn’t really understand how to practically address them. Working on that project as part of an interdisciplinary team to help support these individuals really opened my eyes to the resources and tools available to address SDOH. In this episode, Josie and I have a discussion around SDOH ranging from a high-level overview down to practical tips, tricks, and resources. Josie was even kind enough to provide several resources in the show, which we have linked to down below.


What we cover in this Episode:

  • An overview of SDOH
  • Applying the Biopsychosocial Model as a way of addressing SDOH
  • The importance of trust & building relationships with patients and clients
  • How technology and innovation can help providers, payers, and organizations help patients address SDOH
  • Using data to improve clinical care & better understand how SDOH are affecting patients
  • The importance of communication & actually asking patients about SDOH
  • Using a patient-centered approach to assessment & treatment
  • How to achieve Better Outcomes by assessing and addressing SDOH


Connect with Josie & SODA Health

Resources Discussed on this Episode


For More:

If you enjoyed this episode: Join Rafael E. Salazar II, MHS, OTR/L (Rafi), principal of Rehab U Practice Solutions and host of The Better Outcomes Show as he explores the possibilities of a new healthcare. Guests range from clinicians trying new techniques and treatments to executives and entrepreneurs exploring new service delivery methods, business models, and organizational structures. You can sign-up to receive new episodes delivered directly to your inbox by filling out the form at the top of this page.  Learn more about Rehab U Practice Solutions by reading The Manifesto for a New Healthcare, or listen to Episode 000.


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If you run a clinic or practice and are looking to develop a strategy that leverages best practices, new technology, and marketing/messaging in a way that maximizes patient engagement & retention, please reach out. We’d love to talk with you about how Rehab U Practice Solutions can help your clinic bring in more patients, retain them throughout their course of care, and create uniquely impactful patient experiences.

Rafael E. Salazar II, MHS, OTR/L (Rafi) is the Principal Owner of Rehab U Practice Solutions and the host of The Better Outcomes Show. He has experience in a variety of rehab settings, working with patients recovering from a variety of injuries and surgeries. Rafi has worked in a variety of settings, from orthopedic and musculoskeletal rehabilitation, to academia, and even healthcare consulting. He spent the majority of his clinical experience working at Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center, where he was the lead clinician and clinical education coordinator for the outpatient specialty rehab program. In this role, he treated many veterans with chronic pain and helped to establish an interdisciplinary pain management program. He has worked on projects ranging from patient engagement initiatives to marketing communication campaigns to a multi million dollar project assisting the State of Georgia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities transition individuals out of state institutions to community residences. His work on Telehealth has been discussed in Forbes. He also has experience as a core faculty member at Augusta University’s Occupational Therapy Program, as a Licensed Board Member on the GA State OT Board, and he serves on the Board of Directors for NBCOT. He works to help healthcare clinics and organizations deliver uniquely impactful patient experiences by improving service delivery through The Ultimate Patient Experience™ and courses & training programs.

Read his full bio Here. Read about Rehab U Here.

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Work With Us

RafiIf you’re ready to craft a strategy to help your organization bring in more clients, retain them throughout their course of care, and create uniquely impactful patient experiences, then reach out. We’d love to talk with you about how Rehab U Practice Solutions can help.

What we can help you do:

✅ Train your staff and clinicians to be able to confidently communicate the value your organization provides…

✅ Leverage best practices, new technology, telehealth, and marketing/messaging to maximize patient engagement & retention…

✅ Develop a system that keeps patients & clients happy, engaged, and satisfied throughout the entire process of care…

We help you not only craft marketing messages & campaigns that build that know, like, & trust value you need to convert leads into scheduled clients; but we also work with your clinicians and staff to make sure that, once a patient decides to schedule an appointment, you have a system setup that keeps them happy, engaged, and satisfied throughout the onboarding, treatment, and discharge process.

In short, we help your whole organization become focused on the most important thing in healthcare: people – the people who work for your organization, and the people who your organization treats and serves.


Learn More Here!