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    Top Non-Healthcare-Related Factors Influencing Patients' Overall Health


    Understanding the behavioral, social, and environmental determinants of health will be critical for healthcare organizations to succeed at value-based care, according to a new report.


    The report, Zip Codes Alone Don’t Deliver, from Sage Growth Partners, a Baltimore-based healthcare research, strategy, and marketing firm, explores how the healthcare a person receives has a very small bearing on their overall health—only 10%. Meanwhile, 30% of their overall health is attributed to genomics, and 20% to socioeconomic and environmental factors.

    However, the report cites that 40% of what influences a person's health is their behavior.

    “Getting that behavior data from multiple sources and compiling it so that healthcare executives can map it to any given population allows us to fill that critical gap,” says Dan D’Orazio, CEO, Sage Growth Partners. 

    “Without behavioral data, we’re missing a big chunk of the health equation. If you want to change behavior, you have to first understand it, so you can determine how to activate and motivate people to lead healthier lives. We are already seeing businesses like CentraForce Health, and industry experts like Gartner, addressing this idea,” he says.


    Stephen Newman, MD, executive chairman of CentraForce Health says, “Comprehensively understanding both the socioeconomic and the sociobehavioral determinants of health will allow payers and providers to design more targeted interventions.

    "That focus will improve clinical outcomes and business performance. In other words, [socioeconomic determinants of health  provide context, whereas [socio-behavioral determinants of health] lead to action,” Neman continues.

    A Gartner report from last year stated, “Health agencies will have to become at least as sophisticated as other consumer/retail industries in analyzing a variety of data that helps uncover root causes of human behavior. The ability to influence behavior will be the key to transformative long-term management of cost and quality outcomes.”


    “I believe that organizations will have to overcome any data overload they’re feeling or are in fear of, to get to this valuable deeper understanding of patient behaviors and motivations,” D’Orazio says. “Healthcare organizations that are able to harness socio-behavioral determinants of health and use it effectively will be ahead of the curve in their value-based care approaches for the near future, and will be well-positioned to outperform other organizations as this approach becomes the norm.”


    The report also found:

    • Approximately about 40% of what influences health is missing if good data on people’s behaviors is lacking. “Getting the data from multiple sources and compiling it so that executives can map it to any given population allows us to fill that critical gap,” says Jay Kleinman, executive vice president of CentraForce Health.

    One compelling example of this is what CentraForce Health was able to do in the Sunnyside community of Houston, TX, by layering behavioral data on top of the social determinants of health. “Our data helped a university health center reduce the number of teen pregnancies in an at-risk population by 20% over three years. The data led to an understanding of their behaviors and preferences, allowing the health center to effectively target their messaging to, and engage, this at-risk population,” says Newman.

    • In Columbus, OH, CentraForce’s data identified that the population with cardiology disease is 221% more at risk to use the emergency department; providers can use that data to guide less costly, more proactive interventions, according to Kleinman.

    The experts share four takeaways from the report for healthcare executives:

    1. Knowing where a person lives can tell you they live in a food desert and don't have easy access to fresh produce, but that's just one piece of the picture. “It doesn’t tell you about their attitudes or beliefs about food or exercise, or how often they eat fast food versus making a healthier meal at home. The report explores profiles of two women with the same socioeconomic factors—but different behavior patterns—and how understanding their behaviors helps healthcare organizations make more targeted, effective interventions,” says Kleinman.

    2. Applying sociobehavioral determinants of health data to existing risk analyses can be incredibly powerful—offering insights that can positively impact patients’ health and the providers’ business performance. “It can be used to identify risk in people with chronic diseases, targeting them with preventive interventions before a critical care episode occurs,” says Newman.
    3. Behavioral insights from sociobehavioral determinants of health can help managed care organizations decrease out of network utilization by revealing these subscribers’ modifiable attitudes, behaviors, and access to network providers, according to Newman.
    4. Behavioral insights from sociobehavioral determinants of health can be used to more efficiently and effectively reach existing and future members by providing insights on preferred communications channels, says Kleinman



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