It’s not news that there is more to health than health care. Researchers estimate that a mere 10-15% of preventable deaths could be avoided by better access to or quality of medical care. Other factors such as social circumstances and personal behavior have a bigger influence on health.
And doctors seem to agree: a national survey found that four in five physicians report believing that unmet social needs—lack of access to nutritious food, transportation assistance and housing assistance—have a negative impact on health. Making smart investments in things like education and infrastructure to meet these needs can lead to big gains for America’s health care system.