A recent analysis has found that newly coined “drivers of health” are the primary drivers of health outcomes.

According to a Commonwealth Fund report,

Research indicates that an estimated 20 percent of health outcomes are linked to medical care; the remaining 80 percent stem from socioeconomic, environmental, and behavioral factors referred to as social drivers of health (DOH).  These factors – such as homelessness, food insecurity, and exposure to intimate partner violence – are associated with chronic illness, mental health issues, acute hospitalizations, and high health care costs and disproportionately impact communities of color.

In its proposed 2023 Medicare physician fee schedule regulation the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services embraced the term “drivers of health,” explaining that it would “use the term “drivers of health” to replace “social determinants of health “…to minimize potential misinterpretation or negative connotation.”  The five core domains CMS designated for drivers of health are food insecurity, housing instability, transportation needs, difficulty paying utilities, and interpersonal safety.

Learn more about CMS’s recent actions to address drivers of health and find a graph identifying which current CMS programs seek to address the individual drivers of health in the Commonwealth Fund report “Let’s Get It Right:  Consistent Measurement of the Drivers of Health.”