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How Social Determinants of Health Improve Patient Care

by | Dec 21, 2021 | Thought Leadership

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Helping Communities Manage Social Care & Healthcare

Social Determinants of Health, or SDoH, is a term that has become increasingly important in the healthcare realm. Social Determinants of Health include the social and environmental factors that positively or negatively affect individuals, as well as the broader health of the community.

Healthfully integrates Social Determinants of Health features into our platform to ensure excellence in patient care. In this article, we are giving readers a deep dive into what the Social Determinants of Health are, their importance in healthcare diagnosis, treatment, and illness prevention, and how the Healthfully Care Connect platform integrates SDoH to ensure seamless healthcare for all.

Keep Reading to Discover

  • What factors are included in SDoH and how they influence patient care
  • New changes to SDoH health codes in the ICD-10-CM
  • How Healthfully’s Community Care Connect incorporates SDoH

What Are Social Determinants of Health?

As defined by the Center for Disease Control, SDoH are defined as, “conditions in the places where people live, learn, work, and play that affect a wide range of health and quality-of-life risks and outcomes.” Some of the most critical SDoH include:

  • Housing
  • Access to Food
  • Transportation
  • Social Support
  • Disability Support
  • Mental Health Support
  • Veterans Support

When there are lapses in housing, food access, and other Social Determinants of Health, individual patient health, as well as community health at large, is negatively impacted.

A 2021 study published in the American Journal of Managed Care explored the association between Social Determinants of Health and certain health outcomes. It was found that various populations are impacted differently based on age group and socioeconomic status.

According to the study, the largest contributor of positive health outcomes for those 65 or older is perceived wellbeing, while high rates of unemployment, single-parent households, and injury rates were the most impactful SDoH for those younger than 19 years old.

For patients and the community at large to grow and thrive, it is crucial to measure these metrics of social care. By tracking SDoH metrics, we can not only care for patients on an individual level but identify critical needs in vulnerable communities and tailor solutions that have the greatest impact.

The Latest in Social Health Integration

In 2021, some major changes to SDoH evaluation efforts are set to occur. On October 1, 2021, new Social Determinants of Health codes were added to the ICD-10-CM. This gives providers the opportunity to identify pressing social factors that influence patients’ health and use these SDoH codes to better tailor treatment plans.

Integrating social care with healthcare to create a more personalized approach to treatment is one of our goals at Healthfully. This change in health codes to include important Social Determinants of Health as a factor for patient treatment will ultimately lead to a fuller picture of individual health and a broader understanding of community-wide pitfalls in housing, nutrition access, and other SDoH.

How Healthfully is Making a Difference

At Healthfully, we simplify the healthcare experience for everyone. We facilitate better healthcare for patients and providers through our focus on SDoH. Through our Healthfully Community Care Connect platform, we make it easy for healthcare providers, patients, and communities to improve their health.

Healthfully Community Care Connect

Healthfully transforms the way communities address Social Determinants of Health through:

  • Community-based alignment
  • Digital innovation
  • Unified intake services
  • Frictionless referrals
  • Proven client engagement processes
  • Resource navigation
  • Integrated with clinical care management

We seamlessly integrate SDoH into our platform, along with acute care, primary care, behavioral health, insurance, wellness, and more. With our innovative Community Care Connect platform, healthcare organizations, community providers, and patients can enjoy a fully connected solution that expands access to community services and addresses SDoH needs for improved health outcomes.

In addition to the Healthfully Community Care Connect platform, Healthfully can also provide the resources required to build a local community network in support of SDoH. We can provide community outreach managers, intake screeners, and case managers needed to successfully create and implement patient community care plans. Our SDoH services complement our platform and include:

Initial Community Assessment

SDoH Community Assessment performed for a Health System to determine the viability and impact of an integrated community services program on a Health System’s outcomes.

Initial Community Outreach

Active outreach and engagement of national and local community associations to establish a formal connected community network for patients.

Ongoing SdoH Call Center Services

Call center service for patients in need, including intake, eligibility, resource matching, referral, and ongoing care management services in collaboration with the local community care network.

Healthfully: Simplifying Healthcare for Everyone

When Social Determinants of Health are taken into account, providers, patients, and communities benefit greatly. Socioeconomic status, housing, adequate nutrition, and other SDoH influence our physical, mental, and emotional health, making them essential considerations for both individual patient treatments and community health and wellness.

Healthfully is proud to integrate SDoH directly into our platform and elevate what it means to provide exceptional healthcare for communities everywhere. Check out our Platform Overview Page for more great information on how we incorporate all facets of healthcare into one easy-to-use app.

To learn more about how Healthfully Community Care Connect can transform your local community, reach out to our team today for more information. Schedule a demo and learn more about how our app is improving the patient and provider experience.

Mark Boudreau
Co-founder Mark Boudreau is the COO of Healthfully and brings more than 30 years of success across the technology, product and service, and healthcare industries. Mark previously served as a partner at Accenture and Vice President of Strategy at Orion Health.