Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) are factors such as income, education, and home/work environment that influence health outcomes and life expectancy. SDoH are defined by the World Health Organization as “the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age” and “the fundamental drivers of these conditions.” SDoH have become even more apparent in the setting of the COVID-19 pandemic, given that the most severely impacted communities include essential workers, racial and ethnic minorities, and those that face significant barriers to accessing healthcare.
Despite constituting only 13% of the population in the United States, Black Americans account for one in four coronavirus-related deaths. Latinos and Native Americans are also at a higher risk for hospitalization due to COVID-19. These disparities in health outcomes faced by racial and ethnic minority groups are often exacerbated by intersecting SDoH, such as unsafe working environments and socioeconomic status.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also brought to light the challenge of access to technology and its direct impact on health outcomes, as more and more healthcare services are being provided via telemedicine and digital care technologies are being implemented on a regular basis. It is now more critical than ever to identify digital disparities, such as lack of access to smartphones, broadband internet connectivity, and digital literacy, and subsequently, implement interventions that improve health outcomes (Rx.Health).
Rx.Health digital medicine platform provides tools that simplify and automate the identification of SDoH in order to mitigate their impact on an individual’s health. Payers and providers can utilize the platform to deliver screening assessments for SDoH disparities directly to patients. Once patients with SDoH gaps are identified, care teams can connect patients to community resources and prescribe relevant educational modules and digital health tools directly from their EHR system using the Rx.Health prescription platform. By capturing longitudinal data via connected devices, device-less monitoring, and patient-reported outcomes, Rx.Health makes it simple to track the immediate and long-term effects of these digital health interventions. Providers can monitor their patients and also communicate with them through a live dashboard that is seamlessly integrated into their EHR systems.
Similarly, payers can monitor the impact of digital engagement with SDoH resources at member and population levels in real-time. Interoperability and unification are key challenges in the healthcare ecosystem. Payers, providers, members/patients, and community programs do not have access to the data that can help make a greater impact on SDoH. Rx.Health is addressing these challenges by creating digital toolkits, feedback loops and data sharing between stakeholders, all accessed within the EHR. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
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