August 8, 2023

Effect of unmet social health needs on surgical outcomes

Editor's Note

This study, led by researchers at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, examines opportunities to improve inequitable postoperative outcomes by evaluating unmet social health needs by race, ethnicity, and insurance type.

Outcomes included poor health status (self-reported), socioeconomic status (income, education, employment), and unmet social health needs (food, housing, transportation).

A total of 14,471,501 surgical patients from the 2008-2018 National Health Interview Survey were included in the analysis.

The findings included:

  • 30% of patients reported at least one unmet social health need.
  • Non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic patients reported higher rates of unmet social health needs than non-Hispanic White patients.
  • Those with Medicaid or no insurance reported higher rates of unmet social health needs than those with private insurance.

In adjusted analysis, poor health status was independently linked to unmet social health needs, including:

  • Food insecurity
  • Housing instability
  • Delayed care because of lack of transportation.

The researchers concluded that as providers and policy makers prioritize the improvement of surgical equity, unmet social health needs should be targeted.


Join our community

Learn More
Video Spotlight
Live chat by BoldChat