Social determinants hold the potential improve care, reduce costs and enhance the lives of individuals, but so far the business and financial incentives haven’t existed for putting them to widespread use. With the transition to value-based care and population health programs, however, social determinants are on the verge of becoming more mainstream.
But that will require new technologies, education and operational strategies from hospitals and the industry at large amid the broader digital transformation – as well as new thinking about what exactly counts as a social determinant of health.
“We haven’t yet touched the surface on the social and emotional dominants of health,” said Jitendra Barmecha, CIO at Saint Barnabas Health System, during a panel discussion at the Digital Medicine Conference in New York. “Unless we tackle all of those we have not become patient centered.”