Social prescribing and the search for value in health care

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Health care systems throughout the United States are developing programmes to address patients’ ‘social determinants of health’ – such as housing, food, income and transportation. I investigate the concepts, technologies and infrastructures through which health care systems are turning towards ‘the social’ as an object of clinical knowledge and intervention. Proponents of this movement suggest that developing the clinical capacity to prescribe social resources promises to improve the ‘value’ of care, defined as the amount of health achieved per dollar spent. I argue that initiatives to improve value through social intervention are reconstituting broader arrangements of welfare provisioning.




Fleming, M. D. (2023). Social prescribing and the search for value in health care. Economy and Society, 52(2), 325–348.

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