Social Determinants of Health

What are Social Determinants of Health?

Social Determinants of Health (SDoH), or social needs, are non-clinical, societal, and environmental conditions which prevent individuals from accessing proper health care. This can include difficulties with:

  • Housing access and safety
  • Health care
  • Employment
  • Nutrition, social and behavioral support
  • Transportation
  • Technology and education 


Female provider looking at a medical chart

Elements of Social Determinants of Health 


The SDoH protocol requires those who provide services to UnitedHealthcare members, to use ICD-10 (or successor diagnostic codes) to capture SDoH information.  


Z-codes are part of the ICD-10 code list. We require you to routinely screen and submit the appropriate Z55 through Z65 ICD-10 code(s) documentation when a patient has social needs. 

Health Equity

SDoH and Cultural Competency play a vital role in ensuring health equity for members. 

2023: Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) measurement year

In 2023 HEDIS will measure the percentage of members who were screened for:

  • Food insecurity
  • Housing instability
  • Transportation insecurity

HEDIS will also measure the percentage of members who received a corresponding intervention within 1 month of screening positive for food, housing or transportation insecurity.  


Social Determinants of Health Training and Education

Featured course

Complete our self-paced course to learn more about SDoH.

Free CME Credit Courses

Optum Behavioral Health
You have opportunities to receive CME credits through our partnership with OptumHealth Education. 

Getting Started with UnitedHealthcare
Discover how you can use the UnitedHealthcare Provider Portal for all of your online services, including claims, eligibility, prior authorization, referrals and SDoH Z-codes.

Social Determinants of Health resources

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