Updated on: December 18, 2019

Eight Solutions to Rein in the SDoH

Original story posted on: December 16, 2019

A list of solutions is based on the recent Forbes Healthcare Summit in New York.

"Every December brings lists of top strategies and solutions for the industry to ponder. As we approach 2020, the enthusiasm to rein in the Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) continues, with countless reports and recommendations to do so. Here are 8 solutions to rein in the SDoH , based on the panel discussion at the Forbes Healthcare Summit in New York. Each solution is a starting point, though I’ve taken some literary license to edit and add further examples.

  1. Improve diets and healthy food access:
  2. Improve the physical environment via increased options for housing, transportation, and parks.
    • AARP’s 159 community grants fund construction of fitness parks to enhance physical activity, reduce isolation, and promote socialization.
    • Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Ride Health offer non-emergency medical transportation free of charge for Medicare Advantage members in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
  3. Enhance Internet access.
    • Many providers promote Internet access, offering low- and fixed-income recipients rates below $10 monthly. The website Broadband Now offers a list of options by ZIP code.
  4. Better understand the needs of individuals and promote access.
    • CommonSpirit (out of Dignity Health and Catholic Health Initiatives) developed the Home Recovery Care Program to reduce readmissions for select Medicare Advantage patients, with home visiting and telehealth management.
  5. Integrate healthcare with retail.
  • Cross-sector collaboration exists across the country, through increased health and behavioral health kiosks in shopping malls, drug stores, and around the community.
  1. Develop and use technology to overcome gaps and disparities in care.
    • Food and medication delivery by drone work, as does telehealth expansion and reimbursement.
  2. Restructure financial incentives toward the SDoH.
    • We have insufficient time to delve into this one, but Chapter 8 of my book, the Social Determinants of Health: Case Management’s Next Frontier, provides clear guidance (available in the RAC University Bookstore).
  3. Change the general focus of healthcare.
    • The industry needs more than a set number of solutions to address the SDoH. They’ve been around for centuries and will take a constant, long-range effort to yield meaningful and sustainable change. Many tangible recommendations were discussed on this year’s Monitor Mondays broadcasts. Catch up while we’re on holiday hiatus!

Will the attention to the SDoH continue at this fever pitch? Well, those who follow Monitor Mondays shared their views:

How much will attention will your organization dedicate to the Social Determinants in 2020?
  • More attention than 2019
  • Less attention than 2019
  • The same amount of attention as 2019
  • Who knows! I need a crystal ball to tell me.

 Happy Holidays to all! See you in 2020, when we will continue to report on what’s in store for the SDoH.

Ellen Fink-Samnick MSW, ACSW, LCSW, CCM, CRP

Ellen Fink-Samnick is an award-winning healthcare industry expert. She is the esteemed author of books, articles, white papers, and knowledge products. A subject matter expert on the Social Determinants of Health, her latest books, The Essential Guide to Interprofessional Ethics for Healthcare Case Management and Social Determinants of Health: Case Management’s Next Frontier (with foreword by Dr. Ronald Hirsch), are published through HCPro. She is a panelist on Monitor Mondays, frequent contributor to Talk Ten Tuesdays, and member of the RACmonitor Editorial Board.

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