Data and Social Determinants in Support of Better Health Outcomes

business woman with mask Social determinants of health (SDOH) are the social and environmental conditions that impact individual health. These can include but are not limited to access to housing, food, or transportation, education and literacy level, and more. By intervening in social determinants of health, providers and insurers can drive impact and focus on preventing chronic illness outside of the provider's office.

CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield's thought leaders Dr. Destiny-Simone Ramjohn, Vice President of Community Health and Social Impact and Dr. Tich Changamire, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, recently shared insights with Health Leader's Media, discussing how alternative data supports better health outcomes. They were joined in the discussion by Dr. Trenor Williams, President & CEO of Washington, D.C.-based health data company, Socially Determined.

"It's insufficient to look at social determinants of health through only an individual lens," says Ramjohn. "They touch public and population health. This understanding is part of our DNA at CareFirst. Our investments are further upstream now with dedicated staff and resources. The data is accelerated, including our partnerships around it."

CareFirst engaged with Socially Determined to tie social determinants and alternative data together. For CareFirst's $10.5 million Diabetes prevention initiative, Socially Determined defined communities most at-risk to develop diabetes; therefore, providing solutions and opportunities for CareFirst to use the data to create solutions. Some of these solutions include, but are not limited to, partnering with local businesses and health organizations, implementing culturally relevant programs and more.

“Working with providers on cultural competency, recruiting and retaining staff contributes to health equity. It's important to help practices incorporate screening tools and to engage our practice consultants to see what's happening beyond the office visit. It's a 360-degree approach.”

Dr. Tich Changamire, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield

Read about CareFirst's Diabetes Initiative.