The partnership between TransUnion Healthcare and Socially Determined aims to create a more complete view of social risk factors and their impact at the community and individual level.
A new partnership aims to combine data about social determinants of health (SDOH) with clinical and claims data to help healthcare providers better understand the needs of patients and populations.
The work has implications for the revenue cycle as well, James Bohnsack, SVP and chief strategy officer of TransUnion Healthcare, tells HealthLeaders.
“In order to help our provider clients improve revenue cycle performance and the patient financial experience, TransUnion Healthcare provides insights which focus on the financial situation facing patients," he said via email. "We are now expanding those insights to include the full spectrum of social risks so healthcare providers can implement intervention strategies to improve the health and wellness of communities and individuals.”
The partnership aims to create a more complete view of social risk factors and their impact at the community and individual level. Socially Determined's platform SocialScape helps identify opportunities for organizations to match high-value, targeted interventions for their populations, ultimately aiming to increase prevention, improve treatment and adherence strategies, and lower costs.
The partnership combines that work with analysis of healthcare claims and/or medical records.
“There is a great need for SDOH insights in the market, but most organizations are not in a position to leverage the data properly,” Trenor Williams, MD, CEO and co-founder of Socially Determined, said in a statement. “While the impact that SDOH has on outcomes is well understood, organizations in the healthcare industry are simply not equipped to analyze social risk data alongside health records or claims data.”
Such work could help hospitals and health systems better understand the business care for investing in SDOH.
A lack of clear evidence that SDOH investments result in improved health outcomes and a solid ROI stands in the way of many health systems making financial commitments.
That's why a handful of health systems, such as the Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan healthcare network ProMedica, are working not only to make investments, but also to demonstrate clear evidence that links certain interventions with positive outcomes for pinpointed patient cohorts.
"We're really focused on growing that evidence base," Kate Sommerfeld, president of social determinants of health for ProMedica, told HealthLeaders last year.
She noted that ProMedica has a number of ongoing research projects that control for different factors—ranging from age, race, and insurance type to whether a patient uses case management services—to target the effectiveness of specific interventions on specific groups, such as oncology patients.
In the meantime, Sommerfeld said overall healthcare spending continues to be "out of balance," skewing heavily toward clinical care rather than SDOH spending, despite evidence showing how much social determinants impact health outcomes.
"In fact, clinical care, while vital, is responsible for only 20% of a person's health," Benjamin Isgur, leader of PwC's Health Research Institute, told HealthLeaders last year. "The other 80% is attributable to health behaviors, the physical environment, and socioeconomic conditions."
Alexandra Wilson Pecci is an editor for HealthLeaders.