Tech Startups Address Social Determinants of Health

CAST | February 27, 2020 | by Donna Childress

Startups can help as efforts to address social determinants of health become more data driven.

Technology startups are now contributing to yet another issue that affects older adults: how to address social determinants of health. Startups are working with the National Alliance to Impact the Social Determinants of Health (NASDOH), a private-public collaboration working to find solutions. These companies are joining as social determinant efforts become more data-driven, says FierceHealthcare’s article “How a new wave of technology startups is tackling social determinants of health challenges.”
NASDOH Co-convener Karen DeSalvo, M.D., chief health officer at Google and former U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) acting assistant secretary, spoke on a panel about social determinants of health at the Health Datapalooza conference earlier this month, which FierceHealthcare covered.
DeSalvo said that healthcare, housing, transportation, and related sectors should collaborate to share ideas, data, and funding to improve community health, FierceHealthcare reported. To make a difference, these initiatives need to be tied to state and federal policy changes, she said.
Stakeholders reportedly noted that reimbursement and bringing social determinant efforts to scale are challenging for health systems.
The FierceHealthcare article captures these projects related to older adults, as well as other current initiatives: 

  • Papa, which FierceHealthcare reported on earlier, uses digital tools to pair college students with older adults and families who need companionship and help with everyday tasks.
  • Oak Street Health, which focuses on Medicare beneficiaries, operates primary care clinics in underserved areas. By embedding in communities, it can better provide services such as transportation and engagement activities.
  • Tivity Health provides nutrition and fitness solutions and addresses social isolation among older adults.