Collaboration is Critical

Working Together to Optimize Health in Our Communities



Clinical care accounts for only 20% of health outcomes, with social determinants of health including environment, health behaviors, and economics accounting for the remaining 80%. Providers ought to address social determinants of health and, more and more are joining community partnerships to do so.

We have heard it before—your ZIP code is more important than your genetic code in determining health outcomes [12]. This concept has been proven to be true in multiple studies, and through clear measurement of demographic data. The reality is that the determinants of health that reflect the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age have the greatest impact on health outcomes across many different populations. Research conducted by the Population Health Institute at the University of Wisconsin at Madison demonstrates that clinical medical care accounts for just 20% of health outcomes, while health behaviors (30%), social economic factors (40%), and the physical environment (10%) account for the remaining 80% [3].

Acknowledging this information, America’s health care systems have started to undergo significant transformations to address these determinants of health. Hospitals are now looking at ways to build a community health infrastructure that is stronger, more targeted, and more effective. With this transformation, it has become highly evident that collaborations with community partners that focus on whole person health, and not just the treatment of symptoms associated with disease, will be necessary in order to meet population health goals [4]. Existing partnerships are being redefined and new, unchartered partnerships are being developed. It was within this premise that a new collaboration between Carolinas Health Care System, Novant Health, and the Mecklenburg County Health Department (MCHD) was created to focus on 6 ZIP codes in Mecklenburg County.

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