How technology can help address social determinants of health needs: 3 insights

Social determinants of health, from lack of housing to food and transportation insecurities, can play a key role in a patient's overall health.

To take on a proactive stance in patient care journeys, hospitals and health systems can tackle patients' social determinants of health needs from an IT perspective.  

At Becker's Hospital Review's 5th Annual Health IT + Revenue Cycle event in Chicago on Oct. 10, panelists discussed how healthcare organizations can leverage technology to address social determinants of health needs among their patients. Scott Becker, founder and publisher of Becker's Healthcare, moderated the panel session, which featured the following participants:

·         Brian Goza, IT director at Hemphill County Hospital in Canadian, Texas. 
·         Christopher Caggiano, MD, solutions director at Allscripts.
·         Stephen Brown, director of preventive emergency medicine at University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System in Chicago. 

Here are three takeaways from the session:

1. There is a lot of data that goes into and comes out of EHRs. Using this data to support programs for follow-up visits and home care after the patient is discharged from the hospital can help keep readmission rates down because the hospital isn't readmitting the same patients with those social determinants needs that may have come back for a follow-up visit if their issue had not been addressed during the hospital stay.

2. Hospitals must ensure the data gathered from patients is properly understood, so the right tools can be applied to draw social determinants of health insights. Once the correct social determinants of health needs are identified in a patient, the hospital can enlist community partners to help provide resources to respective patients.

3. Implementing rideshare options through the EHR can help address transportation barriers by scheduling a patient's transportation to and from the hospital so they can make it to their appointment. Further, applying predictive analytics to identify a set patient population who may need transportation can help hospitals schedule rideshare services for patients before they even have to call in and request it.

Don't miss the Becker's 3rd Annual Health IT + Clinical Leadership + Pharmacy event in Chicago, May 19-21, 2020. Click here to learn more and register.

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