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Best Advice Guide: Social Determinants of Health

This practical guide provides family physicians with concrete steps on how to consider and improve patients’ social determinants of health (SDoH). The document provides a background on the social determinants of health, and a practical component with suggested clinical, community, and population-level interventions.

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This Best Advice guide provides practical advice for health professionals on how to improve their patients’ social determinants of health. It examines the role of the family physician in improving the SDoH for all in Canada. Many family physicians recognize that it is difficult to treat the immediate health concerns of their patients without addressing in some way the underlying social conditions that lead to poor health.

Improving the social determinants of health, and fostering family practices that are responsive to community needs are key features of the Patient’s Medical Home model. This document offers advice on how to improve the SDoH in a family practice at three different levels of intervention:

  • Micro: In the immediate clinical environment
  • Meso: In the local community, including the patient’s community, the providers’ community, and the “civic community,” in which health professionals are citizens as well as practitioners (also includes education, research, training, and continuing professional development [CPD])
  • Macro: In the humanitarian realm, where physicians are concerned with the welfare of their entire patient population and seek to improve human welfare through healthy public policy.

Social Determinants of Health Recommendations

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