New research out of NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine revealed that economic factors like income, educational attainment, and social issues like social stigma and discrimination are the leading social determinants of health limiting care access for patients. The data, published in the journal Ethnicity and Disease, aims to inform public policy and help healthcare providers better understand the social determinants of health affecting patients. In doing so, the researchers said providers can cater their treatment plans to account for SDOH, according to Erica Phillips, MD, an associate attending physician at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.
The team conducted qualitative roundtable discussions with community members ranging from policy makers, community-based clinicians, patients, faith leaders, and other key community leaders. These roundtables sussed out the leading social determinants of health affecting patient access to care. The
Alongside federal partners and other healthcare stakeholders, ONC advances social determinants of health data exchange by steering the development, dissemination, and adoption of health standards.
The authors noted that ONC informs policy development that addresses challenges surrounding social determinants of health data interoperability and use.
Currently, ONC is developing a toolkit that aims to help states, payers, community-based organizations, and other healthcare stakeholders implement social determinants of health data exchange within their communities. The toolkit will include suggestions for applying health IT standards, infrastructure, and interoperability to ensure social determinants of health data is accurate, actionable, and easy to access.
ONC is exploring electronic data tagging capabilities, as well as clinical guidelines that use social determinants of health data for clinical decision support. The agency is also exploring ways to exchange health
ONC announced its health IT demographic EHR certification requirements to standardize race and ethnicity data collection in the pursuit of health equity. ONC outlined that the agency’s “demographics” certification criterion requires health IT to record race and ethnicity at the same level of detail as the CDC’s Race & Ethnicity code technology. This system encompasses over 900 concepts for race and ethnicity, giving patients precise options for self-identifying their demographic information.
The technology must also be capable of coding multiple races and ethnicities for a patient in the EHR. This allows individuals to report their race and ethnicity in a manner that most closely aligns to how they self-identify, ONC noted (i.e. Japanese-Indian as opposed to Asian American). ONC called for healthcare providers to work with their health IT developer to implement a strategy for recording race and ethnicity that best supports the populations they serve.
The National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) is launching its Second Health and Housing Institute. The goal of the institute is to help states break down inter-agency silos and strengthen services and supports to help low-income and vulnerable populations become and remain successfully housed. Permanent supportive housing programs require affordable housing and housing-related services financed by Medicaid. Importantly, the new institute will focus on state deployment and execution of newly available federal resources.
With the passage of ARPA and the proposed American Jobs Plan, the following are new programs, policy, and funding opportunities:
Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) announced a national health equity strategy that focuses on measuring racial health disparities, forming community and clinical partnerships, scaling effective programs, and influencing local and federal policy decisions. The strategy is centered around improving racial health disparities in maternal health, behavioral health, diabetes, and cardiovascular conditions.
To measure its progress in tackling maternal health disparities, the payer will use the CDC Severe Maternal Morbidity metric and report results annually. BCBSA's National Health Equity Strategy will focus heavily on community partnerships. For instance, in recent months BCBS companies have fostered relationships with local leaders to provide vulnerable communities with COVID-19 vaccine access.
Additionally, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (Blue Cross) has convened its own advisory council of leading local and national experts in health inequities to he
The Biden administration this past Friday released a letter outlining President Joe Biden's request for fiscal year 2022 discretionary funding in advance of Congress's annual appropriations and budget process. The letter, addressed to Appropriations Committee Chair Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, along with several other top federal lawmakers, includes a range of proposals that reflect Biden's broader agenda.
The request includes several items aimed at improving the nation's digital health response, including $8.7 billion to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That additional funding would go toward modernizing public health data collection nationwide, in addition to supporting core public health capacity improvements in states and territories, training new epidemiologists and other public health experts, and building international capacity to detect, prepare for and respond to emerging global threats, according to the letter.
For organizations seeking to improve their population health management capabilities, big data is a critical part of the journey. Gathering information from different sources – such as claims, medical records, and lab systems – can help providers paint a picture of patients’ health, target resources to those who need them most, and measure health outcomes. At Lee Health, leaders recognized the need for a solution that would help them build an infrastructure to unify data from these different sources, resulting in improved care management and population health management applications.
Lee Health partnered with Innovaccer to implement a horizontal solution that would drive quality. The platform helps providers and care managers keep up with changes in patients’ health status, helping them stay ahead of poor outcomes.
For health systems looking to enhance the use of big data, leaders should first understand what their goals are and how they plan to achieve them. “Numb
Social determinants of health account for up to 80% of health outcomes, while medical care accounts for the balance, according to County Health Rankings. Experiences with COVID-19 are a stark reminder that unaddressed social determinants and health inequities play significant roles in the comorbidities that have led to countless deaths attributed to the coronavirus since early 2020.
Rahul Sharma, CEO of HSBlox, a social determinants of health platform vendor, says there are several obstacles the healthcare industry must overcome to fully leverage SDOH, including:
Disparate and siloed data from multiple sources across industries, agencies and organizations in the public and private sectors, each with its own structures.
Roughly 80% of healthcare data being unstructured.
In the realm of social determinants, stakeholders that are not subject to HIPAA regulations.
3M Health Information Systems launched a new technology platform this week aimed at allowing healthcare providers and payers to prioritize care for high-risk populations. The company says the platform, Social Determinants of Health Analytics, combines clinical, social and population health data to create a complete picture of patient health.
The new platform uses 3M's population classification system and includes social risk intelligence to promote program design and management in collaboration with community-based organizations. 3M's population classification system, known as Clinical Risk Groups, helps to identify medically complex individuals. The platform builds on this information to describe the total disease burden in a population.
As healthcare continues to lean on technological innovations, a new social determinant of health is coming to the forefront: the digital divide. The digital divide is the chasm between those who have access to technologies and the digital literacy to work them, and those who don’t. In healthcare, the digital divide can lead to disparities in patient portal adoption, telehealth care access, or ability to utilize patient-facing practice management software, like online appointment schedulers.
In more recent years, healthcare experts have learned that the digital divide is more nuanced than that. Some older adults may be excited to utilize telehealth, while a younger, potentially low-income, patient might not have the infrastructure to support it. Population health leaders are starting to look into the digital divide and where it is leading to health inequities and ultimately health disparities. In uncovering those issues, experts can craft better multimodal patient e
Based on social determinants of health and health disparities alone, the number of people the US healthcare industry loses is comparable to seeing a 747 airplane crash out of the sky every day, according to Alisahah Cole, MD, system vice president of population health at CommonSpirit Health.
By now, the topic of social determinants of health and the health equity issues that can stem from them is commonplace. The rise in value-based care contracts have given financial imperative to combat the social issues that impact an individual’s ability to achieve and maintain health and wellness. And that’s not to mention the moral imperative Cole presented. Clinical care interventions only comprise about 20 percent of an individual’s overall health status, while the rest shakes out to things like physical environment, individual behavior that is largely in response to personal circumstance, and social determinants of health.
And as healthcare faces the moral imperative to ad
In pursuit of health equity, CVS Health is addressing one of the most significant social determinants of health, housing insecurity, through affordable housing investments that focus on communities of color. In 2020, CVS Health invested over $114 million in affordable housing, which will result in the construction and rehabilitation of over 2,800 affordable housing units across the country.
CVS Health worked alongside community organizations to provide 460 permanent supportive housing (PSH) units to people facing significant challenges, such as homelessness, chronic illness, domestic violence, addiction, and behavioral health conditions. In addition to affordable housing, PSH residents will have access to social, behavioral health, and addiction recovery services. CVS Health invested $4.3 million in a 24-unit PSH project for residents of Wasilla, AK. This development is designed to meet the needs of Alaskans who face access barriers to mainstream housing. Additiona
Medical care is estimated to account for only 10-20% of healthcare outcomes. As a result, healthcare executives who wish to deliver high-quality care have to consider other elements that impact patient health, including income, access to healthcare, racial discrimination, adequate medication and dietary intake. These are social determinants of health. They offer a wealth of information about non-clinical factors that have an impact on a patient's wellbeing. But identifying a patient's SDOH can be challenging because details aren't always easily accessible, especially at the time when clinicians make key treatment decisions.
NLP is a type of artificial intelligence that is concerned with the interactions between computers and human language. Using NLP, a computer can interpret the contents of documents, then extract information and insights. NLP-based text mining transforms the free (unstructured) text in documents and databases into normalized, structured data suit
A third of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries have limited healthcare access because they do not have adequate transportation access, according to a new survey from Lyft Healthcare and Evidation Health emailed to journalists. Respondents reporting such were more likely to have at least one chronic illness or a mental illness, come from a low-income household, or be over age 65, the survey of 9,000 people showed.
Patient access to care is a complex issue affecting a vast array of patients across the country. Although care access barriers can take multiple forms, simply having a ride to the hospital or clinic is a leading issue. It is difficult for a patient to obtain or maintain wellness if she cannot make regular visits to her clinician or to the pharmacy to pick up her medications.
And when comparing Medicaid and Medicare respondents, Medicaid beneficiaries have significantly greater transportation insecurity. Medicaid beneficiaries missed a medical appointment because o
Throughout the pandemic, organizations leveraged AI and data analytics tools to track disease spread and assess patient risk. The crisis pushed academic institutions, health systems, and vendors to develop and refine their AI and machine learning capabilities, setting the stage for even more advanced technologies in 2021.
Social determinants of health data will also play a critical role in the healthcare industry in 2021. While this information is typically difficult to access and share, COVID-19 made social determinants data a crucial asset for organizations seeking to target interventions and get ahead of poor outcomes.
The heightened emphasis on social determinants of health during the pandemic has also led researchers to examine the non-clinical factors that impact patient health. A team from Michigan Medicine recently discovered that racial disparities in cancer and COVID-19 outcomes stem from very similar factors, a finding that could inform public health policies.
Interoperability is critical for ensuring patient medical records are available across the healthcare sector. However, interoperability and patient data exchange are often difficult to achieve in a rural state, such as Idaho, that spans from the border of Canada, all the way down to the border of Utah. Rural states do not have great data repositories and it’s difficult for rural providers to exchange social determinants of health (SDOH) data. Leaders at Idaho Health Data Exchange (IHDE) aimed to improve its data repositories by uncovering and integrating SDOH for its users across the state.
With Idaho being a rural state, SDOH data is especially critical to analyze and report outcomes for both the healthcare system and the community. According to the most recent ONC data brief in late 2018, small and rural hospitals were about half as likely to share records than their larger counterparts. In total, only 62 percent of small hospitals shared this information. And that data