Three representative vendors discuss why social determinants of health are important to population health management, and describe how their technologies help put these important data points to work.
Social determinants of health have proven and measurable impacts on the health outcomes of patient populations. This is why the healthcare industry is seeing heightened focus on SDOH from many sectors, including payer organizations, health systems and independent medical groups.
SDOH are factors influencing patient outcomes that are outside the scope of traditional medicine. These might include geographical factors such as where a patient lives, social factors like interpersonal relationships, cultural factors like religion and economic factors such as income.
Different from SDOH, and more foundational to patient health and well-being, are critical needs, such as water, food, shelter and clothing.
Value-based care on the rise
“From a population health management perspective, priority cohorts are traditionally identified based on clinical factors,” said Dr. Joseph Siemienczuk, chief medical officer at Enli Health Intelligence, a population health IT vendor.
“As value-based reimbursement increases in prevalence, health systems are inclined to better understand all attributed patients, including their social barriers that could impact health,” he said. “The case to incorporate SDOH into population health management becomes an equation of downside risk versus the cost of health investment.”
Understanding social barriers to health improvement and operationalizing those insights into the clinical workflow can better individualize a patient’s care pathway, which leads to better financial and population health outcomes, he added.
Environmental and social factors can have a major impact on a person’s health, said Dr. Tanuj Gupta, senior director and physician executive at Cerner.
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