As the healthcare industry shifts toward a greater focus on value-based care models, there is immense opportunity to integrate social determinants of health (SDoH) into these strategies. Social determinants of health represent the social, economic, psychological, educational, and environmental factors that impact an individual’s health outside of the traditional healthcare setting.
While social determinants can lead to important analysis and insight that can improve health outcomes for patients, many stakeholders in healthcare struggle to identify these factors in their populations and do not have the mechanisms to tackle these issues alone.
To address the challenges of collecting and scaling social determinants data in a way that benefits the payer, provider, and patient, below is a new blueprint designed to harness the true value of this data.
Related article: 4 Ways Health Plans and Communities Can Address SDOH
This blueprint outlines a four-step approach to pursue SDoH as part of a value-based care strategy, including:
- Standardize SDoH terminology data collection, and metrics.
- Develop partnerships with social services, community-based organizations, and government agencies.
- Engage policymakers to support funding for SDoH programing.
- Pay it forward. Share best practices with the healthcare industry.
Improving access to care, increasing adherence to treatment, and encouraging healthy behaviors can only be accomplished when we take the opportunity to understand the nonclinical factors that affect patients. By following this blueprint, existing barriers can be slowly broken down and organizations can begin to extensively address these conditions.
Lindee Chin, MD, is the senior clinical director of value-based care at Edifecs, a global health information technology company.