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Survey: 8 in 10 Payers Now Putting Social Determinants of Health into Programs

February 12, 2018
by Rajiv Leventhal
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More than 80 percent of payers are integrating social determinants of health into their member programs, according to new national research survey released by Change Healthcare and the HealthCare Executive Group (HCEG).

The research draws from more than 2,000 healthcare leaders, including customers of Nashville-based Change Healthcare, members of the Pembroke Pines, Fla.-based HCEG, and Health Plan Alliance members. The researchers targeted the leaders of these organizations, 27 percent of whom are at the president or C-suite level.

The findings also revealed that almost payers no longer believe that high-deductible health plans drive positive consumer behaviors. Indeed, “social determinants of health” has transcended buzzword status, with more than 80 percent of respondents already taking steps to promote value-based healthcare by addressing the social needs of their members. Meanwhile, only 3 percent of respondents identified high-deductible health plans as the best approach for converting passive patients into active healthcare consumers. In fact, they seem to be having the opposite effect—spurring more care avoidance than shopping. However, respondents are having success with other approaches that are detailed in the report.

The survey also revealed that mobile/digital health adoption is not just about functionality and interoperability, but more about trust, with nearly 50 percent of respondents indicating that digital health tools are not more widely embraced due to security and privacy concerns.

And while technologies such as blockchain are gaining rapid momentum in healthcare and industry attention is turning to artificial intelligence, robotic process automation, and other advanced technologies, 63 percent of respondents pointed to clinical data integration as a leading factor supporting administrative cost efficiencies.

“The Industry Pulse results clearly underscore some of the megatrends we’re seeing this year, especially with respect to transformation of care, including population health management, analytics, and consumer engagement—which are pillars of value-based care,” David Gallegos, senior vice president, consulting services, Change Healthcare, said in a statement. “Healthcare organizations are transitioning from negative to positive incentives to influence consumer behavior much faster than most would expect. Payers are also taking aggressive steps to advance value-based care and crack the code to successful consumer engagement.”

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