Learn how providers are addressing social determinants of health at 2017 AHA Leadership Summit

Social determinants of health (SDOH) is a concept that is gaining more traction in the boardrooms of hospitals and health systems.

The concept—that the provision of health care directly influences only a small percentage of overall health outcomes—has been studied and promoted for years by organizations such as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Today, however, as financial incentives have changed, health care providers are seeing more direct impact of social determinants on their bottom lines.

One study published in the New England Journal of Medicine estimates that health care only accounts for 10 percent of personal health. On the other hand, 40 percent of personal health is dependent on personal factors, 30 percent on genetics and 20 percent on social determinants (15% due to social circumstances and 5% due to environmental exposure). With care providers taking on more risk, and with social determinants having double the effect of health care on patient health, providers are responding.

Some complex and chronic care management programs are partnering nurse case managers with social workers to help formally address the social components of these patients care plans.

On the environmental effects of the social spectrum, Duke University and Michigan’s National Center for Geospatial Medicine (MNCGM) are using community-level analytics to guide the engagement strategy of a workforce of community-based healthcare providers. Carolinas Healthcare is using census tract geospatial analyses to target accident avoidance in areas with high accident injury rates, as well as to better understand the impact of ambient air quality on management of severe asthma and COPD.

At the 2017 American Hospital Association Leadership Summit, July 27-29, Optum is sponsoring the “Advancing Population Health Management” track, which includes four presentations focusing on how health care providers are partnering with their communities to address SDOH:

  • Equity of Care: Essential to Improved Quality and Lower Costs. This presentation will feature leaders from the 2017 AHA Equity of Care Award honorees. Attendees will learn why health equity is good business and how it is helping accelerate quality improvement.
  • Collaborating to Make Communities Healthier. Executives from LifePoint Health and Havasu Regional Medical Center will describe how they built a coalition of community health workers to reduce preventable hospital readmissions.
  • Delivering Health Information: Improving Outcomes for Vulnerable Populations. Experts from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Mount Sinai Health System and Oliver Wyman will discuss what it takes to empower vulnerable populations with effective health information.
  • Redefining Population Health. Leaders from Howard University Hospital and Public Health Institute will talk about emerging evidence around social and equity determinants of health around population health and how providers can foster a culture of health and even create health.

Population health happens outside of the four walls of a hospital. Attendees of the AHA Leadership Summit Advancing Population Health Management track will see how some forward-thinking organizations are taking an external view of population health improvement.


About the Author:

Alejandro Reti, MD, MBA
Chief Medical Officer, Optum Analytics

With responsibility for the Office of the CMO, Alejandro is accountable for the clinical integrity and relevance of Optum Analytics’ provider solutions and contributes to thought leadership and clinical product innovation for the organization. Alejandro came to Optum from Premier, where he served as Vice President, Population Health Products with general management responsibility for Premier’s organically developed population health suite.

Prior to Premier, Alejandro served as Senior Vice President, Clinical Informatics at Verisk Health, where he led development of a provider analytics solution that achieved top 4 in market share nationally. Previously, Alejandro held positions of increasing responsibility at Avalere Health and The Advisory Board Company. Alejandro received a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Amherst College, magna cum laude and his MD and MBA degrees from Yale University.

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