From the discovery of antibiotics to the growing field of genomics, constant breakthroughs have reshaped medicine. Despite our advances, we are caught in the revolving door of reactive medicine's focus on treating acute illness instead of a proactive approach promoting prevention and health.
We've begun to change our perspective, from a primary focus on treating disease to one that looks beyond the doctor's office to the social determinants of health in communities we serve.
For example, in 2015 roughly 16.1 million American adults experienced depression, and 15.8 million households struggled to get enough to eat. The cost burden of these social determinants of health on the U.S. healthcare system is equally important. In 2014 alone, roughly $160 billion was spent on direct and indirect health-related costs related to food insecurity and hunger in the U.S.
Faced with these issues, it is difficult for many people to get healthy and stay healthy. We must broaden our perspective on the clinical care model to solve for these social, psychological and economic issues influencing health and well-being.
The new frontier of medicine includes both prevention and treatment of chronic conditions, with a focus on long-term outcomes. Addressing these social determinants will become a prerequisite for successfully practicing value-based care. The question: how do we prepare for this future?