Industry News

Survey Says 80% of Payers Taking Steps to Address Social Determinants of Health

by Ensocare on Feb 14, 2018


More than eight in 10 payers are integrating social determinants of health into their member programs, according to the 8th annual Industry Pulse survey.

Meanwhile, just 3.4% of respondents believe high deductible health plans promote healthy behavior. The survey — commissioned by Change Healthcare and the HealthCare Executive Group — draws on the perspectives of 2,000 healthcare leaders, 27% of them at the president or C-suite level.

There’s a lot of buzz around social determinants of health as a means to improve population health while reducing costs. Steps organizations are taking include leveraging community programs and resources, integrating medical data with financial, census and geographical data, including social assessments with a health risk assessment and training doctors to identify social indicators.

Healthcare organizations are already working to fill some of the gaps. Last summer, the American Hospital Association published a guide discussing the impact of housing on a community’s health with recommendations on how hospitals can assist.

It’s interesting, too, that payers no longer think high deductible health plans promote positive behaviors by creating more “skin in the game,” an approach the Trump administration and Republicans have pushed. Rather, the largest share of leaders (25.4%) think payers should offer positive incentives for healthy behaviors. 

Asked what factors have limited widespread adoption of consumer mobile and digital health tools, 48.7% of executives said security and privacy concerns, 35.4% said limited functionality and 34.2% said a redundant and confusing app environment. Other barriers included system interoperability, healthcare literacy and poor user interface design.

The survey also shows continued enthusiasm for digital health. When it comes to the power of mobile technologies to transform healthcare, respondents saw the greatest potential impact with diagnostic apps. Nearly 80% said diagnostic apps will be impactful in the future, though only 13% feel they have much influence today.

The impact of heart monitoring devices and secure text messaging is also expected to grow in use, as is location services, while demand for wellness apps and fitness trackers is expected to decline. Telehealth appears to have just about peaked in terms of impact, with 46% saying it is having a major effect today and 47% saying it will impact the future. 

Read more about how software can be used to help address the Social Determinants of Health.

Read the Original Article by Meg Bryant
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