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5 Key Trends Baked Into the New Socially Determined-Uber Health Partnership

Analysis  |  By Laura Beerman  
   January 09, 2024

How the partnership can help drive benefits and services toward need and what it means for healthcare.

Driving better outcomes just took on new meaning.

At this week’s JPMorgan conference, Uber Health and Socially Determined announced an “analytics-first” partnership that pinpoints people in need and uses Uber’s fleet to deliver supplemental benefits such as medical rides, home pharmacy, and food.

“Historically, the onus has been on patients to navigate their own benefits—from figuring out what they’re eligible for, to tracking down those services, to securing reimbursement. We’re turning that model on its head,” said Caitlin Donovan, Global Head of Uber Health.

Donovan’s remarks are from a joint press release with Socially Determined. Its co-founder and CEO Trenor Williams adds: “Uber Health’s knowledge, approach and ubiquitous network provides the perfect partner for our analytics and allows our customers to drive measurable, improved outcomes and member experience.”

Socially Determined is a social risk analytics and solutions company that integrates medical care and social drivers of health (SDOH). Uber Health is a HIPAA-compliant, population health logistics platform that serves more than 3,000 customers. Both companies count payers and providers as customers.

How it works

Uber’s “ubiquitous network” is its drivers, who already deliver people and meals by the millions to their daily destinations. Those same drivers can now help people who lack reliable transportation to not only doctor’s visits but also the grocery and pharmacy.

The Uber Health-Socially Determined partnership can help payers and providers:

  • identify high-need individuals
  • connect eligible members with available benefits
  • increase member and patient engagement, access, and outcomes
  • reduce healthcare costs
  • uncover unmet needs in communities across the country

These facets connect the coordination of need, eligibility, and benefits to healthcare’s Triple Aim (better outcomes and patient experience for less cost) and across all lines of business (Medicaid, Medicare Advantage, and commercial).

HealthLeaders reached out to Socially Determined for additional insight, with Williams responding: “For years, our payer and provider customers have utilized our social risk analytics to better understand and address the challenges their members and patients faced every day. And now we’ve developed purpose-built analytic models designed explicitly for Uber Health’s key benefits that immediately help identify those individuals with the greatest need for each benefit.”

One partnership, five trends — and what it means

The Uber Health-Socially Determined collaboration reflects:

  • the growth of supplemental benefits and members’ ability to use them
  • the rise of automated benefits validation
  • the delivery of more care to patients’ doorsteps
  • the expansion of existing business models to deliver innovative care
  • the integration of SDOH needs with legacy healthcare

Uber Health’s Donovan adds that the partnership “enables healthcare organizations to take a more strategic, proactive, and impactful approach to patient care, driving better outcomes at scale.”

The partnership also marks the next step in healthcare’s growing use of alternative data — any data external to what a company (e.g., payer, provider) collects on its own and which offers broader source, scope, and value. Socially Determined’s resources include but are not limited to: federal and state data; granular business data ranging from restaurants to retail; and financial information that spans credit ratings, buying behaviors, asset/resource information including home, car, and property ownership.

The growth trajectory

HealthLeaders first covered Socially Determined in 2021, when the company partnered with CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield to improve health equity by providing alternative data for the health plan’s SDOH-driven interventions. At that time, CareFirst had made a $10.5-million, multi-year commitment to address the root causes of diabetes using SDOH and other alternative data sources. A year later in 2022, CareFirst expanded the partnership to launch an “enterprise-wide social risk intelligence strategy.”

“We have made tremendous progress over the past two to three years,” says Williams. “We have great partnerships with Blues Plans, national and regional MCOs, IDNs, and others.”

That partnership now includes Uber Health to deliver disruptive healthcare innovation in its most basic form — a ride and a bag of groceries.

Laura Beerman is a contributing writer for HealthLeaders.

Photo credit: Girl inside car holding smartphone with Uber app on screen. Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil. August 2022./Diego Thomazini/Shutterstock.com


KEY TAKEAWAYS

Socially Determined has partnered with Uber Health to close the gap between social risk, unmet need, and supplemental benefits deployment.

Uber Health will use Socially Determined’s data and analytics to pinpoint high-need individuals and make their supplemental benefits more accessible.

The partnership reflects growing industry trends and marks Socially Determined’s progress in deploying SDOH analytics.


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