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The scale of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic and its disproportionate impact on vulnerable populations has spurred unprecedented focus on and investment in social determinants of health (SDOH). Although the greater focus on social determinants is laudable and necessary, there is a tendency for health care organizations to implement SDOH programs at scale without rigorous evidence of effect, rather than targeting interventions to specific patients and assessing their impact. This broad, and sometimes blind, application of SDOH interventions can be costly and wasteful. We argue for rejecting the “more is better” mindset and specifically targeting patients who truly need and would substantially benefit from SDOH interventions. Matching interventions to the most appropriate patients involves screening for social needs, developing rigorous evidence of effect, and accompanying policy reform.

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