This is our favourite diagram. It might be odd to have a favourite diagram but we have. It’s the diagram that we have noticed has the most impact when we go out to talk to organisations about the services they deliver. It might be counter-intuitive to think that the services that have the most impact on our health outcomes are not what we traditionally call health issues; but when we think about basic human need, it does make sense.

The most profound things that can improve health outcomes are sorting out a stable housing situation, having fulfilling work and not being in financial hardship. We instinctively know this but how often do you see these as the main priorities in commissioning plans? As we know they will provide the greatest return on investment why isn’t the base of this pyramid the basis for commissioning services?

The beauty of this diagram is that it equips those services, that frequently have their health contribution overlooked,  with some evidence to make a case for funding and support. This is the basis for housing associations to demonstrate they improve health outcomes through their core services; this is the basis for advice agencies to make a case for how they are helping people to be healthy. This is how we invest in prevention.

Investing in stable socioeconomic conditions and supporting people to live healthy lives will always achieve more than focusing on clinical care.

Thanks for looking at our favourite diagram.

This data in this diagram comes from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The recognition of the contribution to overall health outcomes is used to by the Foundation in the work they do to rank US Counties in their progress in improving health outcomes.