Population Health Alliance Releases White Paper on Social Determinants of Health

Washington, DC, July 26, 2018 --(PR.com)-- The Population Health Alliance (PHA) today released a comprehensive White Paper examining the definition, impact, and potential interventions to reduce the effect of negative social determinants of health (SDH) on health status in the U.S. PHA’s Quality and Research Committee spearheaded this initiative to identify best practices and highlight areas where additional research is required to support organizations intervening in SDH. The White Paper extends and amplifies PHA’s well-known Population Health Management Framework showing how population health management programs that capture social needs can effectively drive improvements in the health of individuals and communities.

Mary Jane Osmick M.D., Vice President and Medical Director of American Specialty Health, and Chair of the PHA Quality and Research Committee and principle author of the white paper notes, "Anyone who works with patients, consumers or employees on improving health has at one time scratched his head and wondered why even the best of efforts tend to fail. Knowing that only 10 – 20% of health outcomes are related to the care services delivered, while 60% are related to social determinants and related health behaviors, changes the way we must think about and approach improving individual and population health. If you aren’t first safe, warm, and well fed, you can’t think about putting your energy into securing an education, getting a good job and crafting a future where your health is a valued commodity. This white paper, with a focus on taking action on social determinants, extends the work of others and spurs organizations to think differently about their roles and strategies in improving health, and to join a national effort to make good health possible for everyone."

PHA’s White Paper finds that the current trend towards value-based health care increases the need for action on modifiable social factors that impact health outcomes and exacerbate health disparities. Many organizations that directly deliver health care or have a role supporting individuals receiving health care do not currently possess the culture nor the capacity to effectively intervene in SDH. Each organization or institution type – health plans, providers, employers, wellness and health condition support vendors, communities, analytics/technology providers and others – has a role to play in solving for SDH.

To successfully intervene, all of these organizations must develop a strategy and set of tactics relevant to their specific roles. Healthcare organizations and employers may need to reconfigure how they deliver services and staff their organizations to effectively address SDH; many will need new organizational and community partnerships. Employers may need to adapt benefit strategies to address SDH and use the workplace to promote a culture of health. In addition to community and population level interventions, effective individualized interventions may include telemedicine, health literacy, face to face community outreach, and digital technology. Ultimately integration of SDH risk factor reduction could decrease the cost of health care in the US.

According to Rose Maljanian, HealthCAWS Chairman and CEO and PHA Chairman of the Board, “The White Paper maps validated strategies from the PHA Population Health Management Framework to approaches for improving identification, intervention and evaluation interventions to mitigate SDH. The PHA Framework is still the template for improving population health. Effectiveness of each element of the Population Health Management Framework – use of analytics to identify priority populations, applying targeted interventions, and assessing outcomes – improves when coupled with information on SDH. We developed this paper because PHA recognizes the tremendous opportunity of pairing social interventions with health improvement strategies to improve population health outcome.”

The Population Health Alliance and its member organizations use best practices and recommendations in the White Paper to enhance and improve effective population health programs for employers, health plans, and other stakeholders. The White Paper is available as a benefit to members of the Population Health Alliance. Non-members may access an Executive Summary. To join PHA and be a part of the dialogue, contact Allison King at Aking@populationhealthalliance.org or (202) 737-5476.

The Population Health Alliance (PHA) PHA is the industry’s only multi-stakeholder professional and trade association solely focused on population health, representing stakeholders from across the health care ecosystem that seek to improve health outcomes, optimize medical and administrative spend and drive affordability.
Population Health Alliance
Liza Greenberg
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