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Navigating the Social Determinants of Care: The Correlation Between Education & Health

Introduction to Determinants of Health from Lack of Education

In the second part of our series, we discussed the obstacles that come from economic instability, focusing on limited access to healthcare as well as insecurities related to housing and food. In this third part of our series, we will discuss the barriers that come from limited opportunities in education, and how healthcare providers can overcome these barriers.

Statistics on Correlation Between Education & Life Expectancy

Although people are living longer than they did before, it’s important to note discrepancies in access to care that result from a lack of education. For instance, the chance of death is significantly lower for those with a high school degree than for those without [1]. Furthermore, even though more education is associated with longer life expectancy [1], there is a question about how impactful the correlation is. For instance, comparing white adults, white adults with higher levels of education have much lower mortality rates than adult whites with lower levels of education [1].

However, the differences between mortality rates between Hispanic and Black adults with high levels of education and those with low levels of education are not as high [1]. This is because Hispanic and Black adults may face even more discrimination in other areas of life. Furthermore, they may have to choose to go to schools that may not have the same opportunities as white adults [1]. Therefore, although getting an education may increase their life expectancy, the benefits are not as high as they are for white adults [1]. 

Lack of Education Worsens Health

Education plays a big role in the overall health of a person. For instance, people with lower levels of education face shorter lives, worse health outcomes, and increased disability [2]. Part of this is because lack of knowledge often comes with a lack of knowledge about healthy behaviors and the importance of receiving timely care. Furthermore, a lack of education can also mean a lack of disease prevention. This can be as simple as not knowing when to do certain screening, or which specialist to seek out for certain issues. Furthermore, education is often associated with higher rates of literacy. Those with lower literacy skills may not understand how to adhere to their treatments, and they may also be too embarrassed to ask questions. 

One of the more obvious correlations with education is better access to healthcare services, especially coverage of preventive care. Furthermore, education is often correlated with greater economic stability, which in turn leads to greater access to healthcare services, housing, and nutritious food [3]. Even children with parents who have higher levels of education tend to have better access to healthcare and nutrition, which sets them up for better health outcomes overall as they grow older. Overall, although not everyone needs education to have high socioeconomic status, it certainly helps in developing literacy skills, and self-management, and brings awareness to the importance of health. 

Supporting Patients Who Lack Education

Although one of the best ways to overcome low rates of education is to create policies that set children up for success, these implementations will take time. One of the most important things healthcare professionals can do is to make treatment plans easier to understand and adhere to. This can be as simple as creating visual aids and using simpler language so those with limited literacy skills can understand medical concepts. This can also mean implementing screening tools that identify which patients may need more support than others. Furthermore, technology can also bridge the gap between literacy and healthcare. For instance, telehealth platforms can provide videos and step-by-step guides for how patients can adhere to their treatments. Telehealth can also connect patients with doctors so they can reach out whenever they have questions. 

Furthermore, healthcare professionals should continue to empower patients to play a bigger role in their healthcare journeys. This may be providing increased follow-ups so patients feel comfortable bringing up their concerns and questions. This can also mean teaching them how to practice self-care, how to adhere to their medications, and how to reach out for different services. Furthermore, connecting patients with community members can provide them with additional support and reinforcement. Overall, identifying patients who need more help than others is crucial, as well as continuing to follow up when they need it. 


HITS provides healthcare management services & works with doctors to develop health informatics tools that promote safe and secure care. We take pride in our services and settle for nothing other than 100% quality solutions for our clients. Having the right team assist with data sharing is crucial to encouraging collaborative and secure care. HITS also focuses on transforming health care by analyzing integrated medical solutions and evaluating information systems. Our goal is to enhance individual and population health outcomes, improve patient care, and strengthen the clinician-patient relationship.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4435622/
  2. https://societyhealth.vcu.edu/work/the-projects/education-it-matters-more-to-health-than-ever-before.html#gsc.tab=0
  3. https://healthinformationtechnologysolutions.com/navigating-the-social-determinants-of-care-lack-of-economic-stability-causes-disparities-in-ca
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