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AHA Awards Health Systems for Innovations That Address Social Determinants of Health

Analysis  |  By Mandy Roth  
   July 31, 2019

All winning solutions involve maternal health and utilize telehealth, virtual care, or an app.

Women and babies are the beneficiaries of the American Hospital Association's 2019 Innovation Challenge, which solicited solutions from health systems to address social determinants of health. Winning concepts—which will receive funding, resources, and other support to help bring the ideas to life—include:

  • A telehealth solution that links a screening for social determinants of health with early childhood screening
  • Online health technology combined with community health workers to ensure reproductive equality
  • An app to help at-risk new mothers with postnatal care

The awards were announced this week at the 2019 AHA Summit Leadership in San Diego. Social determinants of health is a topic of great concern to health systems these days, and participants at the 2019 HealthLeaders Innovation Exchange expressed interest in finding novel solutions to address this issue.

The Innovation Challenge, coordinated by the AHA Center for Health Innovation, which launched last September, asked hospitals and health systems to develop new sustainable and scalable solutions using technology to address social determinants of health to improve the health of communities.

Selected health systems include:

1. NewYork-Presbyterian was awarded the first-place prize for “Using Digital Tools to Impact Early Childhood Development and Maternal Health.” The solution employs telehealth to link a social determinants screening with an early childhood development screening.The innovation enables providers to assess social determinant-related vulnerabilities at home and increase patient engagement through virtual check-ins.

2. Second place was awarded to Henry Ford Health System of Detroit for “Women-Empowered Community Access for Reproductive Equity (WE CARE).” Using online health technology, it combines an emergency department (ED) intervention with community health workers to provide vulnerable, reproductive-aged women with point-of-care planning services during non-emergent ED visits.

3. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles received the third-place award for “Improving Health Equity among At-Risk New Moms.” The health system developed an app, “Baby Steps LA,” which provides medical information, task lists, access to a support group and wellness resources. The app is designed to help new mothers manage postnatal care as they transition to home.

According to previously released information, the top three proposals will be awarded $100,000 for first place, $25,000 for second place, and $15,000 for third place. First American Healthcare Finance sponsors the challenge.

Mandy Roth is the innovations editor at HealthLeaders.

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