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  • Writer's pictureMichael Sattler

The Four Types of SDOH Intervention Initiatives

Setting aside the policy and advocacy dimensions of SDOH, there is a class of SDOH activity that involves organizations attempting to identify, understand, document, and mitigate, a given social condition that affects an individual's health. When organizations attempt to change a social factor, we traditionally use the healthcare term "intervention."

Interventions can involve something as simple as making an individual aware of a social organization that can help them or as complex as enrolling someone in a multi-step coordinated program of care mediated by professionals. Most are facilitated by a unifying technology or platform and feature a collection of associated organizations. Beyond that, the degree and variety of these initiatives vary widely, including the terms and names used to describe them.

In an effort to encompass the widest range of definitions, Advocate Advisors calls them “SDOH intervention initiatives,” although there is by no means a consensus on the terminology. In an effort to standardize our language and perception of this nascent sphere of activity, here are the big four with some definitions attached:

  • Resource Directories. Databases of municipal, community, and healthcare-related services designed to informally connect individuals with social services. EXAMPLES: Connecticut 2-1-1.

  • Referral Networks. A resource directory that facilitates and tracks referrals between these organizations. EXAMPLES: Unite West Virginia

  • Community Information Exchanges. A resource directory where participating organizations share information on clients and the services they provide. EXAMPLES: CIE San Diego

  • Community Collaboration Networks. A resource directory involving referrals, information sharing, and shared workflows or tasks. EXAMPLES: Curandi Health

What do you you call your initiative? Does it fit into one of these categories? What's missing?

Please let me know directly ( or on Twitter at @advocateadviso1

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