Saul Marquez, Host at Outcomes Rocket Podcast

Data-Driven Approaches to Social Determinants

Monday August 3rd 2020

Data-Driven Approaches to Social Determinants

healthcare data


Social determinants of health is a topic that has gained traction in today’s healthcare. The conditions of where a patient lives, how he lives, his socioeconomic status, race, and more impact his health outcomes, care quality, and medical costs. 

These factors often have more influence on a person’s health than disease or other clinical factors and therefore, must be addressed. Getting a clear picture of the various social determinants of health help members of the care team to provide the best possible care. 

A person’s healthcare can be compared to a puzzle. SDOH comprises several pieces of that puzzle. When healthcare workers look at all the different parts, they get a better perspective of the whole picture. Addressing these various determinants, especially at a large scale, will increase preventive care, improve outcomes, and reduce cost.

However, we know that managing social determinants of population health is not easy. The how is a big question. That is one of the challenges facing healthcare organizations. We still have not captured SDOH data. We have some data, but not much. Most data recorded in patients’ visits are related to health but do not include additional factors that impact wellness. 

Collecting information is not easy. Medical professionals cannot give questions. It must come from community organizations or social service organizations. Even then, patients are not comfortable sharing information because they do not know how the data is going to be used. 


Leveraging Data Analytics for More Efficient Outcomes


Every problem has a solution. In the data collection problem of SDOH, Algorex Healthcare Technologies provides a solution. Algorex is a data science company providing social determinants data and algorithms in support of value-based care. 


In my podcast interview with Jacob Luria, Managing Partner of Algorex, he explained how the company found another solution for the data collection challenge. 


 We acquired as much data as we can, not from social media companies… but from companies that have sterling reputations around user agreements that are sharing data under very strict protocols, are sharing data under direct marketing guidelines,” Jacob said. 


The company’s data sources include LexisNexis, V12 Data, and some non-traditional sources, like a consortium of solar panel installers. You probably think, “What is the connection of solar panel installers to healthcare?” but Jacob explained that the company analyzes the information. They learn a lot about people through this process. 


Through their analysis, they learn critical social determinants data, which in turn helps the company make the right models. 


Planning Data-Driven Campaigns 


Jacob shared that one of their key focal points is in provisioning nutrition and food services.  “One of the areas that we spend a ton of time with is in the provisioning of nutrition and food services. And there’s a really important reason for that.”


 He shared a story of a group of unengaged population in the Northeast who, from their internal health risk assessment data showed that they had less than 1% of Medicaid members with challenges on food access and affordability. 


 For Medicaid recipients, that number is unbelievably low. Jacob believed it was a lack of data coverage that led to that result. So, the team prepared a series of campaign activities and they ended up delivering 4800 food packs quarterly to the members. 


 This is an example of how to reach out to people in the right way. The team was able to reach out to the people and asked if they want to participate in a food program, instead of telling the people they need food. It is a challenging conversation to have. Not many people are willing to admit help though they may be in a difficult situation. 


 Jacob admits it is a small step in opening a conversation, but it has a huge impact in terms of response rates. He relays that when they started working with the population, there were no outpatient visits in the past 24 months. After their campaigns, around 80% of the members contacted saw an outpatient provider within 90 days. 


 Through the data-driven campaign, an increased number of people are now proactively taking care of their health. 


Insights from a Unique Perspective


Algorex is in a great position in the healthcare space. With its data-driven algorithms and insights, combined with its insider understanding perspective and consumer market data methodology, the company allows organizations to accelerate social service interventions. 


For more of Jacob Luria’s insights on SDOH and how his company effects change and improve the quality of life, listen to our full conversation here : https://outcomesrocket.health/algorex/2020/06/


Written By

Saul Marquez

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