Diverse Panel Discusses SDoH & Data Exchange Challenges, Successes, and Points to Ponder Further

Jeannine Siviy, participated in a six-person panel at the Healthcare Innovation Group’s recent webinar on Social Determinants of Health and Health Data Exchange. The group was diverse and the conversation engaging, highlighting four pertinent themes and calls for action from provider and payer organizations, government, and community-based organizations.  

Watch the webinar recording

Theme #1:
SDoH success will require responsibility, collaboration, and inclusion across all stakeholders, including government.

“It will take many stakeholders into the conversation.”

Klaus Madesen, Stakeholder Engagement Lead Consultant
Cities Changing Diabetes Initiative, U.S, Novo Nordisk, Inc.

Panelist, Klaus Madsen, highlighted how there is a lot of reliance by payer and provider organizations on community-based organizations (CBO) to solve the SDoH challenge. There is “asymmetry of information and the capacity to analyze and translate data into solutions.” He also pointed to the critical role that government must play in any collaboration since, as he pointed out, the Health Care System is last in the six social determinants of health model put forth by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Social Determinants of Health
Figure 1: Social Determinants of Health

“We all have a part to play. There’s power in data, but there can also be fear and concerns around sharing data.”

Kirsti Klaverkamp, Program Manager
Colorado Health Institute

Panelist, Kirsti Klaverkamp, emphasized the need for deep collaboration to affect risk factors locally. It takes CBOs alongside payers, providers, government, and local neighborhood representation and inclusion.

Theme #2:
Standardize SDoH data, then democratize and tokenize it.

The panel’s moderator, Mark Hagland, Editor-in-Chief at Healthcare Innovation, kicked off the webinar by highlighting how the pandemic brought “full realization of the discrepancies and inequities in healthcare.” He asked the group where we are on the journey –  if the endpoint is to have every U.S. person connected and watched over.

“We’re at the beginning (of the journey).” “We need to capture individual social risk and combine it with publicly available data…and integrate that with resource and referral systems.”

Deborah Donavan, VP SDoH Strategy & Operations
Highmark Health

Deborah is an Executive Committee Member with the Gravity Project, which is a national committee that is developing data standards to represent individual-level SDOH information in digital platforms. The goal of these national standards is to support the consistent use of data across organizations, providers, and caregivers, and facilitate payment for social risk data collection and intervention activities such as referrals, counseling, and care coordination.

“We, mostly, notionally agree on the importance of SDoH. But, we need the right information at the right time.”

Jeannine Siviy

Jeannine pointed to the asymmetry and need for standardization as well. Her team’s work towards “better health via frictionless healthcare” relies upon and creates interconnections among organizations and their people and processes while delivering interoperability among data sources and systems.

“We’re making data available in non-traditional ways.”

Emily Mortier, Senior Director, Healthcare Strategy, SDoH and Tokenization
LexisNexis Risk Solutions Health Care

Emily brought attention to the need to define the real problem around data silos. This includes the tokenization of data and making de-identified population health data available to stakeholders. The more awareness there is around what’s available, the greater possibilities that any participating organization can use the information to cause positive SDoH outcomes.

Theme #3:
The SDoH journey is just beginning. Stay focused on reasonable wins.

The panel made clear that while there is agreement on value to address SDoH, the route to solutions, operations, and scale is quite complex. Key to success, as Emily mentioned, is “focusing on concrete problems.”

“I like to cut through the complexity. And, zero in on actionable endeavors and short-term goals with immediate benefits, first.”

Jeannine Siviy

Jeannine suggests that an often-missed step in data handling is creating operational definitions. These are invaluable when bringing together different stakeholders who may think that data- or SDoH-related terms mean something completely different. It can accelerate progress and collaboration while decreasing risk of derailment and misunderstandings.

“Water (data), water (data), everywhere and not a drop to drink.”

Mark Hagland, Editor-in-Chief
Healthcare Innovation

Emily also highlighted that it’s critical to have someone who supports data system integration, privacy, and security. The goal is to balance privacy, security, and compliance while achieving utility. Kirsti pointed to the need to create an ecosystem and architecture that supports all parties in a social information health exchange and the importance of setting clear expectations and agreements in data handling and usage.

Theme #4:
Lots of Hope and Lots of Work

Closing questions and advice from the panel covered the gamut, but there is clearly a lot of energy, synergy, and hope for what SDoH initiatives can accomplish with individuals and populations.

  • Deborah sees payers contracting directly with CBOs in the future, stating, “Healthcare should be a convener but not solely responsible.”
  • Klaus shared how Novo Nordisk and Lexis Nexis are exploring ways for health data to be more accessible for the community based organizations involved in Cities Changing Diabetes
  • Kirsti warns against evaluating SDoH initiatives with just traditional metrics. There’s a need to look at impact to school education, etc. and not just healthcare problems.
  • Emily reiterates the need to focus on concrete problems and Mark concurred, advising, “So, don’t boil the ocean.”
  • Jeannine recommended that stakeholders spend the time up-front to outline what measurements are needed and how to modularize solutions and technology so you can scale later.

How is SDLC Partners Supporting SDoH?

During the webinar, Jeannine mentioned our work around special benefits for Medicare Advantage plans. But, for any organization that wants to engage individuals within their communities around what they need and want from SDoH initiatives, Jeannine and her team have developed WholeCare+. This service profiles members at scale to understand their individual story and context, as well as buying motivations. 

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