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   Discussion response Addressing Social Determinants of Health in Nursing Practice Transforming Nursing

  

Discussion response

Addressing Social Determinants of Health in Nursing Practice


Transforming Nursing

Read a selection of your colleagues’ blog posts and respond to two of your colleagues by expanding upon their responses or sharing additional or alternative perspectives.

PEER #1


Fallon Shelton

Initial Post

Fallon Shelton

 

Addressing Social Determinants of Health in Nursing Practice

Health literacy which is the capacity to comprehend and utilize health information is both a social determinant of health and a part of the public health response to health inequities because it is directly and indirectly related to many health outcomes (Nutbeam & Lloyd, 2021). However, understanding health literacy does not guarantee good health literacy activities. As the best advocates of the best policies, nurses must address health literacy hurdles and socioeconomic factors especially by leveraging Health Information Technologies for equitable care delivery.

Addressing Social Determinants of Health Obstacles

Low-income and undereducated patients are less likely to effectively participate in healthcare due to difficulties in understanding complex medical information or following instructions. Thus, inadequate health literacy is linked to worse health, greater hospitalization rates, emergency department usage, and healthcare costs, as patient activation- confidence, skills, and knowledge to engage in healthcare enhance health outcomes (CDC, 2021). Nurses can leverage clear language, visual aids, and patient-specific instructional resources to overcome these hurdles. Developing frontline professional abilities and changing the communication setting should improve health communication quality and accessibility (Nutbeam & Lloyd, 2021). Rather than satisfying urgent objectives, health communication should teach transferable skills for obtaining, comprehending, and using health information.

Diversity in culture and language makes it harder for patients to navigate the healthcare system and grasp health information. By using language-appropriate resources, skilled interpreters, and culturally sensitive patient education materials, nurses can boost health literacy in these communities. To close the gap and promote equitable treatment, healthcare providers can communicate openly and culturally which means getting enough cultural support from the community (Nutbeam & Lloyd, 2021).

In today’s digital healthcare environment, patients’ technological access and comfort might affect health literacy (Nutbeam & Lloyd, 2021). Patients with little digital literacy or access to technology may struggle with online patient portals, telemedicine programs, or even basic healthcare information. Another major obstacle to patient health information access is internet misinformation. Nurses can address these hurdles by evaluating patients’ technology skills, giving training and assistance, and offering in-person consultations or printed information to individuals with restricted digital access.

Leveraging Health Information Technologies (HIT) for Equitable Healthcare

Designing digital tools and resources with health literacy in mind helps nurses utilize health information technology to provide fair care. This requires working with health information technology (HIT) experts to create user-friendly interfaces for patients of various literacy levels. Nurses should promote plain language concepts including utilizing basic, non-technical language and clear visual signals to make digital platforms and instructional materials more understandable (Hettinger et al., 2022). Nurses should also create customized training and support programs to help low-digital literacy patients use these tools.

Socioeconomic status, language proficiency, and cultural beliefs might hinder healthcare access and use in underserved populations.  Making HIT more accessible and intuitive allows nurses to engage patients in treatment, provide trustworthy health information, and make collaborative choices (Hettinger et al., 2022).  Healthcare practitioners may also overcome these issues and improve treatment availability via telehealth and remote patient monitoring. HIT also improves nurse-patient communication, health information sharing, and chronic disease management. This may enhance patient health by fostering self-management, care coordination, and early problem detection. Nurses can help close the digital gap and provide high-quality, patient-centered healthcare by embracing HIT and pushing for its careful integration.

Conclusion

Health literacy is not only a social determinant of health but also a part of the public health response to health inequities because it is directly and indirectly related to many health outcomes. By addressing health literacy obstacles, nurses can promote better patient outcomes. Strategic use of health information technology can improve patient-provider communication, enable data-driven treatments, and promote high-quality, equitable healthcare for all patients.

 

 

References

CDC. (2021). Health Literacy Research and Best Practices. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

to an external site.

Hettinger, A. Z., K, K., & Fitall, E. (2020). Updates in the Role of Health IT in Patient Safety. Psnet.ahrq.gov. 

to an external site.

Jay, J. (2020). Strategies to Address Social Determinants of Health. Relias. 

to an external site.

Nutbeam, D., & Lloyd, J. E. (2021). Understanding and responding to health literacy as a social determinant of health. ANNUAL REVIEW of PUBLIC HEALTH, 42(1), 159–173. 

to an external site.

PEER #2



Solomon Soroibe Okwueze

There are varying definitions of health literacy as developed by popular bodies and organizations. For instance, health literacy is broadly defined as the ability to find, understand, and use health information and services to inform health-related decisions. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), health literacy encompasses the cognitive and social skills which determine the motivation and ability of individuals to gain access to, understand, and use information in ways that promote and maintain good health (n.d). Similarly, the American Medical Association (AMA) define health literacy as a constellation of skills such as the ability to perform basic reading and numerical tasks required to function in the healthcare environment (Baker, 2006). Health literacy is an important concept for both healthcare workers and patients and directly relates to patient care. This blog will recommend strategies for addressing barriers and challenges associated with social determinants of health in nursing practice. It will also highlight ways through which nurses can effectively use information technologies to support the delivery of equitable care to all patients.

Social determinants of health in nursing practice

Social determinants of health (SDOH) are the conditions within which individuals are born, grow, live, work, and age (Chelak & Chakole, 2023). The most common SDOH include socioeconomic status, employment, education, access to healthcare, physical environment, and social support networks (Chelak & Chakole, 2023). There are various barriers associated with social determinants of health in nursing practice. For instance, limited access to healthcare services due to lack of insurance, geographical barriers, and transportation issues can prevent individuals from receiving the quality of care they need (Chelak & Chakole, 2023). Similarly, individuals of lower socioeconomic status are likely to have poor health outcomes as they lack access to nutritious foods, live in hazardous neighbourhoods, and lack access to basic education (Gurewich et al., 2020).

Additionally, living in areas with limited green space, poor quality of air, and inadequate sanitation are more likely to have a negative impact on health outcomes (Gurewich et al., 2020). More so, lack of access to nutritious foods increases the risk of obesity and malnutrition. Besides, discrimination based on gender, race, ethnicity, and disability triggers chronic stress and other serious mental health issues (Gurewich et al., 2020). Individuals living in rural areas have poorer access to healthcare services compared to their counterparts living in urban centers and this creates disparities in care access and outcomes. Health literacy is also a significant social determinant of health in nursing practice (Gurewich et al., 2020). This is because limited health literacy hinders patients’ ability to understand health information and make decisions about their health.

Strategies for addressing barriers and challenges associated with social determinants of health in nursing practice

The first strategy to address the barriers and challenges associated with social determinants of health in nursing practice is implementing policies focused on increasing the minimum wage (Browne et al., 2021). The other strategy is enhancing Medicaid expansion, telehealth, and mobile clinics to increase access to affordable healthcare services. The other strategy is investing in training and equipping people with skills that increase their employability (Browne et al., 2021). Moreover, the government can address the challenges associated with social determinants of health by investing in affordable housing, public transportation, sanitation and pure water, and enhancing access to healthy foods (Browne et al., 2021). The other effective way to address the barriers and strategies to social determinants of health is by inventing peer mentoring initiatives and community-based programs to improve social support networks (Browne et al., 2021). This can help to foster cohesion and reduce social isolation, which is a leading cause of chronic stress.

Furthermore, the development of anti-discrimination policies could significantly help to reduce the barriers associated with social determinants of health (Browne et al., 2021). Implementation of health literacy programs could help improve patients’ level of understanding of health information and through it empower them to make evidence-based decisions regarding their care. Besides, investing in technological innovations such as telehealth could help improve access to healthcare services and enhance health literacy (Browne et al., 2021). Lastly, barriers and challenges associated with social determinants of health in nursing practice can be addressed by supporting community-led interventions that help to manage the unique care needs of people (Browne et al., 2021).

The use of information technologies to support the delivery of equitable care

There are various ways that nurses can use information technologies to support the delivery of equitable care to all patients. For instance, nurses can use technologies such as Telehealth to provide remote care for underserved populations living in rural areas. Telehealth allows nurses to monitor vital signs remotely thus supporting the delivery of equitable care (Rodriguez et al., 2022). Also, mobile health (mHealth) applications are used by nurses to ensure medication adherence among patients and promote the management of chronic conditions (Rodriguez et al., 2022). Besides, nurses use digital health literacy tools to ensure that their patients have a better understanding of their diagnosis, the treatment plans available, and their participative role in their health (Rodriguez et al., 2022).

Also, nurses can use data analytics tools to identify trends in population health and areas of improvement among patients (Clark et al., 2021). This also guides the allocation of resources so that more resources go to underserved populations. Moreso, nurses can use online portals to communicate with patients and also access patient information, which promotes care decisions (Swanepoel, 2023). Furthermore, nurses can rely on technological tools to help them access the cultural resources of patients, which enhances culturally competent care. Moreover, nurses can leverage technological tools such as electronic health records (EHR) to obtain detailed information about patients, including past medical histories, diagnoses, allergies, and lab results (Rodriguez et al., 2022). This information helps nurses to make informed healthcare decisions and improve care outcomes. Technologies such as the health information exchange (HIE) help nurses to securely share patient information across various healthcare settings (Swanepoel, 2023). This improves care coordination and improves the quality of care delivered across different healthcare organizations.   

References

Browne, J., Mccurley, J. L., Fung, V., Levy, D. E., Clark, C. R., & Thorndike, A. N. (2021). Addressing Social Determinants of Health Identified by Systematic Screening in a Medicaid Accountable Care Organization: A Qualitative Study. 
Journal of primary care & community health
12, 2150132721993651. 

to an external site.

Baker, D. W. (2006). The meaning and measure of health literacy. 
Journal of General Internal Medicine, 21(8), 878–883. doi:10.1111/j.1525-1497.2006.00540.x

Chelak, K., & Chakole, S. (2023). The Role of Social Determinants of Health in Promoting Health Equality: A Narrative Review. 
Cureus
15(1), e33425. 

to an external site.

Clark, C. R., Wilkins, C. H., Rodriguez, J. A., Preininger, A. M., Harris, J., DesAutels, S., Karunakaram, H., Rhee, K., Bates, D. W., & Dankwa-Mullan, I. (2021). Health Care Equity in the Use of Advanced Analytics and Artificial Intelligence Technologies in Primary Care. 
Journal of general internal medicine
36(10), 3188–3193. 

to an external site.

Gurewich, D., Garg, A., & Kressin, N. R. (2020). Addressing Social Determinants of Health Within Healthcare Delivery Systems: a Framework to Ground and Inform Health Outcomes. 
Journal of general internal medicine
35(5), 1571–1575. 

to an external site.

Rodriguez, J. A., Shachar, C., & Bates, D. W. (2022). Digital inclusion as health care—supporting health care equity with digital-infrastructure initiatives. 
New England Journal of Medicine
386(12), 1101-1103.

Swanepoel W. (2023). Advancing Equitable Hearing Care: Innovations in Technology and Service Delivery. 
Folia phoniatrica et logopaedica : official organ of the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics (IALP)
75(4), 201–207. 

to an external site.

World Health Organization. (n.d.). 
Health promotion

to an external site.

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