Using Health Tech to Address Social Determinants

One expert said social determinants of health can be driven by tech to improve overall outcomes.

As health systems continue moving from traditional fee-for-service care models to value-based care models, providers are focused more on the overall health and well-being of patients. To better track those factors, physicians are reaching patients where they spend their day-to-day, rather than waiting for a patient to enter the four walls of the clinic.

Niko Skievaski, co-founder and president of Redox, a developer seeking to improve interoperability, told Inside Digital Health™ at Expo.Health in Boston, that as health systems switch care models, the social determinants of health matter more.

And technology can play a huge role, he said.

“So, we’re seeing new technology prop up that is being adopted by health systems to attract patients outside of the care setting,” he added.

Things like wearable devices for remote patient monitoring are becoming extremely important, the expert said. These technologies allow providers to see what happens when a patient goes home. Providers get a better view at the patient’s life — are they are being active, keeping their heart rate up and changing their behavior to impact their care and reduce potential readmissions or complications?

Social determinants of health are also being addressed to connect patients with resources outside of typical healthcare resources, like appropriate shelter, clothing and food and nutrition.

“In a value-based care world, those things matter a lot more because they impact a patient’s overall health,” Skievaski said.

Focusing on overall health becomes more important than whatever procedure or medication a patient might be taking.

“So, we can use technology to really track that and help guide patients into changing their behavior around that,” he concluded.

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