Social determinants of health, account for 70% of health outcomes and encompass the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. Almost 4 million people in the United States don't receive medical care or inadvertently misuse emergency services due to lack of reliable transportation options. Not having the transportation means to tend to one's medical needs, is seen as a multi-faceted issue because of the impact it has on the rising cost of missed appointments, the administrative burden on rescheduling those no-show instances, and how missing an appointment can lead to poorer health outcomes.
For healthcare organizations and providers, this has implications both clinically and from a business perspective. For patients, especially those with chronic illnesses or living in low-income communities, their health is on the line because, as studies show, "chronic disease exacerbations or unmet health care needs can accumulate and worsen health outcomes". Understanding the relationship between transportation barriers and health is key to addressing health in vulnerable and high-risk populations.