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Analysis

If social determinants of health are so important, shouldn’t we ask patients about them?

BMJ 2020; 371 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m4150 (Published 24 November 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;371:m4150

Rapid Response:

Re: If social determinants of health are so important, shouldn’t we ask patients about them?

Dear Editor,

I was surprised to see that information about determinants of health is not part of the normal case history for patients in the UK.

I published my first paper on this topic in March 1972 at the annual communicable disease conference (DHEW publication number (HSM) 73 – 8172) when I and my staff examined infectious disease differences by socio-economic areas within the city. The decennial publications on Health, United States for the last 40 years have refined social determinants of health repeatedly. I believe most practitioners in the US are familiar with this. I have taught about the importance of the subject in my classes on public health in our medical schoolfor the last 30 years.

Competing interests: No competing interests

11 December 2020
Christopher M. Buttery
Clinical Professor
Derpartment of Family Medicine, Division of Epidemiology,Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia. USA