Social Determinants of Health have been getting a lot of attention, and for good reason. The impact these factors have on overall care and outcomes has started to become very well understood. And over the past year, healthcare inequities exposed by the pandemic have accelerated the focus on social determinants even more. This is very encouraging progress, but there’s still a lot the industry – and the country – needs to learn about SDOH.

In order to spearhead the education effort, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) published the Social Determinants of Health Guide. The guide dissects the many factors that impact social determinants of health and outlines how health systems can better utilize socioeconomic data to improve the health of millions of people at scale. The guide covers a wide range of complex topics including the relationship between social care and medical care, the impact on individual health, community and population health, how these issues affect healthcare system ROI, and much more.

As a member of the HIMSS SDOH task force, Socially Determined President and co-founder, Ryan Bosch, MD contributed to the guide alongside a number of other industry experts focusing on SDOH. Through the input of these experts, the guide provides unique perspectives and recommendations on how health care systems can shift traditional thinking to better position their businesses for success while simultaneously improving health outcomes for the most vulnerable populations.

Ryan’s specific contribution to the guide was centered around how healthcare systems should begin to think differently about social programs – some of which they may have been supporting for decades – and the return on investment they can expect from SDOH initiatives. Here are some key takeaways from Ryan’s section:

“Many healthcare systems have a misconception of the business impact social determinants of health can have when integrated into a strategic plan. SDOH programs can provide insights and interventions that guide corporate action at scale, leading directly to a business case return on investment. This lack of understanding has impacted healthcare systems unfavorably and blocked their ability to see the beneficial financial results of investing in and addressing the socio-clinical needs of individual and populations.

What was once only a charity expense should now be viewed as core business. As social determinants of health continue to become a focal point across all healthcare systems and entities, organizations will need to understand both the impact of a value-based care transition and the revenue generating endeavor SDOH data and analytics provides to the broader healthcare industry.”

As a practicing physician who has had a keen interest in health literacy throughout his career, Ryan is well-versed on these topics and how they impact care in patient settings. This knowledge also contributed to the development of SocialScape, Socially Determineds risk analytics platform that empowers organizations to quantify social risk factors and analyze the impact they have on health and business metrics. This data-driven approach can improve care and outcomes for individuals, but more importantly, it’s essential to scaling SDOH programs across a population. Health Literacy is just one of the social determinants that SocialScape analyzes, and with data that impacts other issues including economic wellbeing, food insecurity, housing and transportation, the platform provides a comprehensive view into a person or population that payers, providers and others have never had before.

Contact us to learn more about how SocialScape® can quantify the impact of social risk on your business.

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