SDoH: Today’s Health Systems Are Ill-Equipped to Meet SDOH Demands

SDoH: Today’s Health Systems Are Ill-Equipped to Meet SDOH Demands

Fast-forward 41 years, and there’s a new mantra coming from today’s youth: “I want my SDoH!” That’s according to new research published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, which found 81% of youth aged 14–24 years think it is important for their doctor or medical team to ask about SDoH. The implication is that if you want to make sense of all of those social determinants of health (SDoH), all of those biomarkers, biometric data, and the exploding amount of consumer-generated data from wearables and implantables, we’re going to need more than a bigger boat. Indeed, according to a recent national study of providers by Morning Consult, 58% of health leaders say their EHR vendor can’t support their enterprise data strategy. And a big part of that enterprise data strategy needs to be seamlessly integrating external social, community, device, and consumer data sources into the patient’s record.

Can we legitimately talk about the digital transformation of healthcare when less than one-third of health leaders report they plan to use technology to integrate, analyze, and understand their patients’ social determinants, and use that data to improve their health journeys and experiences? The answer isn’t point solution after point solution, with brittle point-to-point integrations that create additional data silos, further fragment patient data, and completely miss the point (no pun intended) of the pressing need to incorporate SDoH into care workflows. Completely open and interoperable, it can integrate SDoH data from outside of the health system’s four walls as readily and easily as it can integrate EHR, clinical, claims, labs, pharmacy, CRM, and, frankly, any other data.

The only difference: these are sophisticated healthcare IT solutions that can now leverage a common, unified (longitudinal) patient record that contains everything a health system needs to know about its patient including a massive amount of SDoH information, culled from external sources, that provides caregivers the insight they need into the 80% of health determinants now (and forever) missing from their EHR. The EHR is the first center of gravity in healthcare, collecting the 10-20% of medical data that’s a function of patient care. The time has come to establish healthcare’s second center of gravity to use and move beyond the EHR, fragmented data, and being point-solutioned to death. The EHR and other mission-critical systems will remain mission critical, but their data can (and must) be unified and transformed to usher in a new world order that gives providers anywhere, anytime access to a single source of patient truth in all crucial systems and care settings including the more than 80% of social factors that influence health outcomes and, in an increasingly value-based world, the financial health of providers.

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