When COVID-19 hit, Carilion Clinic used its arsenal of social determinants of health data to figure out which patients would need the most education and support throughout the pandemic.
With help from an artificial intelligence vendor, the Roanoke, Va.-based health system used ZIP code and census data and other social needs data to identify thousands of patients most at risk for negative outcomes should they contract COVID-19. Data from electronic health records was also used.
Carilion Clinic staffers called those patients routinely, asking how the system could help with such social and health needs as food insecurity and medication refill challenges. The patients were also educated about the importance of social distancing, hand hygiene and mask wearing.
“They knew they had this lifeline during this pandemic should they need it,” said Donna Littlepage, senior vice president of accountable care strategies at Carilion Clinic.
Carilion Clinic’s experience reflects that of many providers, health plans and public health officials who presented at Modern Healthcare’s 2020 Social Determinants of Health Symposium last week. Homing in on social determinants has been a large part of the strategy to address challenges brought on by COVID-19, many of the executives said. Their focus is supported by data showing minority populations and low-income individuals are far more likely to contract and die from the virus.
Throughout the virtual conference, industry leaders consistently said they rely on data sources that offer a glimpse into the social challenges their population faces along with trusted community partners to help them identify where to invest resources during the crisis.