Health plans are increasingly accountable for improving the health of their populations. Thus, the increasing relevance of one of today’s hottest industry topics: social determinants of health (SDoH).
We know these determinants—such as where a person grows up, lives, works and ages—can play a huge role in influencing health outcomes. And we also know that SDoH can be impacted by robust member engagement strategies. Still, deciding exactly where to start in addressing these larger social influences and barriers can sometimes seem overwhelming at best.
So, to help simplify things and boost your efforts, we’re sharing seven practical and effective ways to incorporate SDOH factors into your health plan’s existing member engagement strategy:
Improve awareness: Increase beneficiary awareness of available community services through information dissemination and referral.
Provide assistance: Provide community service navigation services to assist high-risk beneficiaries with accessing services.
Encourage alignment: Encourage partner alignment to ensure that community services are available and responsive to the needs of beneficiaries.
Provide time and resources: One of the most important challenges and opportunities in incorporating SDoH factors in the delivery of care is the need for dedicated time and resources for providers and social workers to perform their work and jump-start projects that address SDoH factors and transform their clinics, agencies and hospitals. Health care administrators can demonstrate leadership by setting aside time for a designated team of social workers, health care providers and behavioral specialists to work together to tackle SDoH issues that impact successful health outcomes.
Align incentives: Plans and providers must provide the right type of incentives for their members and constituents to engage in a more meaningful and holistic manner in their own health care and well-being. SDoH factors influence individuals’ behaviors in insidious and hidden ways, which impacts engagement and outcomes. Extrinsic motivators, such as rewards and incentives, can kick start member engagement and overcome SDoH barriers in the short term, and provide the resources members need to get the care they require.
Connect: Incentivize patients to connect with their caregivers, providers and pharmacists to discuss medication regimens.
Financial resources: Help patients obtain the financial resources they require to remain on their medication. Solutions may include shopping tools, co-pay assistance and other incentives.
With these actionable best practices in your SDoH toolbox, your plan can make significant strides toward addressing the social factors that impact health—improving member well-being while lowering health care costs.
NovuHealth is the health care industry’s leading consumer engagement company. Combining performance analytics, behavior science and comprehensive technology solutions, our rewards and engagement programs enable health plans to increase high-value member activities—improving member health and driving plan performance. Visit us at novu.com.