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Health care faces a dilemma. It’s a highly regulated, complex industry that spends a majority of its time caring for the sick instead of helping its communities and their residents stay healthy in the first place.

While the system understands that innovation is key to population health, time and money is being spent on designing solutions for those with the means to take advantage of medical advances. Meanwhile, those in need of help the most struggle to get their basic needs met.

With less than 20% of a person’s health attributed to health care, we have to do more to eliminate the barriers that prevent healthy outcomes. This means going into our communities to understand the issues impacting them the most. These include:

The Collaborative on Health and the Environment says less physical activity is responsible for 250,000+ U.S. deaths a year. 5,ooo deaths per year are from pedestrian and bicycle crashes with motor vehicles. Road traffic pollution causes 58,000 U.S. deaths per year. Many of these issues could be tackled with better infrastructure and walkable communities. 

The USDA reports about 40 million Americans are considered food insecure, meaning they don’t have the financial resources for food at the level of their household. That number includes more than 12 million children.

The National Institutes of Health estimates that only 12% of the U.S. population is health literate defined as “having the capacity to obtain, process and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.”

The Association for Children’s Mental Health reports 50% of students with emotional and behavioral disabilities, ages 14 and older, drop out of school.

According to a 2007 study by JAMA Psychiatry, loneliness has been highly associated with cognitive decline and the development of an Alzheimer’s-like dementia in older people.

People receiving integrated services report higher quality of life and greater satisfaction with access, attention to their treatment preferences, courtesy, coordination and continuity of care and over all care.

According to the Health Research and Educational Trust, nearly four million people in the U.S. are prevented from getting medical care each year because of transportation barriers.