Data Science Tools Improve COVID-19 Care for Those Vulnerable to Social Determinants of Health Factors

In Affinite PlanLink, Care Management, Covid-19 by Marketing

Key Benefits Include Outreach, Education, Prioritization

Last month, we discussed how strong data analysis can help care managers identify patients who are at greater risk from COVID-19 owing to social determinants of health (SDoH). SDoH, the societal, demographic, and economic variables that affect a person’s wellbeing, include access to healthcare, where they live and work, the availability and affordability of nutritious food, economic and job stability, and other environmental factors.

The Effect of SDoH Factors on Member Care Management Due to COVID-19 

Researchers from the University of Nebraska, Omaha found that “Systemic social inequality and discrepancies in socioeconomic status (SES) contribute to higher incidence of asthma, [cardiovascular disease], hypertension, [chronic kidney disease], and obesity in segments of the general population. Furthermore, people living with these chronic conditions face more severe symptoms, higher death rates, and longer recovery times from COVID-19. It is important for care managers to identify patients whose SDoH place them at elevated risk for contracting the virus so they can be provided with the education, resources, and healthcare intervention they need to protect themselves from exposure and manage their conditions.

Benefits of Proactive Identification in COVID-19 Prevention

When health plans and healthcare providers can identify patients with chronic conditions whose SDoH factors point to greater susceptibility to COVID-19 complications, they can take steps to communicate with vulnerable populations and help them understand the actions they should take to stay well, Care managers can initiate discussions with older, immunocompromised, and chronic patients to make sure they understand the importance of self care:

  • Scheduling and keeping doctor’s appointments and staying up to date on immunizations
  • Maintaining physical activity and mental stimulation
  • Ensuring medication adherence
  • Seeking emergency treatment when required

The Role of Data Science

By adding another layer of risk stratification to care managers’ segmentation capabilities, data analysis provides a holistic view of each member’s health conditions, their COVID-19 risk, and their underlying contributing factors. Health plans employing data-driven care management solutions such as Affinitē Planlink can:

  •  Identify elderly members and overlay their histories with SDoH factors and multiple comorbidities. 
  • Complete and accessible data presents these plans with the opportunity to treat not only the most chronic disease presentation but also address the specific SDoH causes rather than only the symptoms.

By integrating SDoH into care management decision making, care managers can tailor programs and automate outreach schedules to ensure high-risk populations follow prescribed care. They can coordinate with social, community, and non-profit organizations to meet member needs, and they can prioritize their daily routine to maintain contact with those at greatest risk.

Vital Data Technology’s sophisticated algorithms help health plans segment their patient populations. Our data science platforms empower value-based models to streamline workflows.  improve care decisions, and reduce healthcare costs.

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Laura Barnett, BSN, RN, CDE
Vice President Client Partnerships

Laura is the Vice President of Client Partnerships at Vital Data Technology and product owner of Affinitē PlanLink. In this role, Laura oversees all aspects of the customer life-cycle, serving as an ambassador for all clients and partners to ensure a world-class customer experience. With her career spanning over 20 years in healthcare ranging from nursing leadership, medical device sales, and healthcare information technology account development, and partner management, her clinically-founded expertise ensures her astute alignment with health plan goals.

Laura is nearing completion of her Masters of Health System Information Management from Texas Women’s University, and she holds her BSN, Nursing from The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio.

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