Recently, Ashley Fitch, MS MA, Senior Director, Social Determinants of Health & Community Partnerships at Mount Sinai Health Partners shared important information about SDoH (social determinants of health) and several perspectives on their impact on health outcomes, heathcare systems’ approach to addressing these opportunities, and how the life sciences industry can support the healthcare community.
In this video, Ms. Fitch addresses the following key points:
- What are social determinants of health?
- What are health systems doing to understand patients’ social determinants, social factors, and social needs?
- Acting to address social needs
- Social determinants of health coding and reporting
Watch the short video to better understand SDoH – what they are and why they matter – and engage your customers and peers in deeper conversations of how these impact patient outcomes and healthcare performance.
1. What are social determinants of health?
Social determinants of health are the conditions in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, and age that affect a wide range of health and quality-of-life outcomes and risks.
Determinants include economic stability, education, social & community context, health and health care access, and neighborhood and built environment.
💡 Why are health systems paying attention to SDOH?
20% of health outcomes are driven by access and quality of care while 80% are driven by social determinants of health. Health executives and providers are focusing more on community-based partnerships that may help overcome barriers to access and care.
💡 Are there opportunities to explore these types of partnerships between your company and area healthcare systems?
2. What are health systems doing to understand patients’ social determinants, social factors, and social needs?
Many healthcare systems have teams and departments dedicated to understanding and addressing SDoH. For example, some healthcare providers may have public health departments or offices of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging. Others may have quality teams that are focused on equity.
Additionally, many health systems are gathering patient level data on social needs and/or leveraging publicly available data sources to understand population level trends.
💡 How can the life sciences industry help providers address health equity and improve outcomes?
Consider how these areas could be an entry point to learning how your company and its products or services may be able to help patients access medications and/or improve outcomes.
Did you know that screening patients for social needs is part of the 2023 Joint Commission Equity Certification and CMS Inpatient Prospective Payment Programs.
3. How do health systems act on and report on social needs?
On one end of the spectrum, online community resource guides are low touch, user-friendly, easily accessible and accurate. However, these guides have limited potential for outcome tracking. Community-based organizations (CBO) Referral and Data Tracking Platforms can send and track referrals and report data on usage and outcomes and have the potential for EMR integration. CBO networks are centrally organized, provide reliable high-quality service, accept referrals and share information. CBO networks are considered high touch and have a high potential for outcome tracking.
💡 Did you know there are a growing number of reporting requirements related to SDoH?
These include the CMS Hospital Screening for Social Drivers of Health and Screening Positive Measures which is voluntary in 2023 but will be mandatory in 2024. The Joint Commission Health Care Disparities Reduction and Patient-Centered Communication Accreditation Standards were effective on January 1st 2023 and have new and revised requirements to reduce disparities in hospital accreditation programs as well as other health centers. And the NCQA Health Equity Plus Accreditation Standards is available for those organizations that are further along in their health equity journey.
These reporting requirements and new standards are likely to be top of mind for many healthcare executives. Consider how your company’s products or services could help their efforts to improve health equity and patient outcomes.
4. Social determinants of health coding and reporting
There are three major national hospital reporting measures and standards related to social determinants of health
- Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services Hospital Screening for Social Drivers of Health and Screening Positive Measures
- The Joint Commission Health Care Disparities Reduction and Patient-Centered Communication Accreditation Standards
- National Committee for Quality Assurance Health Equity Plus Accreditation Standards
What are Z-codes and why should we care about them?
Z-codes are the ICD-10-CM encounter reason codes established for documenting SDoH data (housing, food insecurity, transportation, etc). Z-codes are a form of SDoH documentation, and their use could lead to risk adjustment, direct reimbursement and/or more informed care.
How can the Life Sciences industry support SDoH?
Addressing social determinants of health is a primary approach to achieving health equity and in improving patient outcomes. Solutions are multi-faceted and require the focus of many entities. Work to understand the initiatives and commitments your customers are focusing on to support their patient population. Explore partnership opportunities for the life sciences industry to play an important role in closing these equity gaps.
As Ramona Sequeira, President of Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A, says, “Our medicines are only as good as the outcomes they deliver in patients,” it is imperative for life sciences to explore opportunities to support communities. Be it unearthing data insights, building public awareness, or developing medications for addressing the needs of underserved communities, there are ample areas of collaboration.