Socially Determined, a Washington, DC-based healthcare analytics company, unveiled a new metric on Thursday which aims to measure the impact of social connectedness on health outcomes and business performance.
This metric is part of the company’s SocialScape platform, which is a subscription-based suite of tools that customers buy. The platform collects and analyzes data on everything from health literacy to housing environment for a variety of organizations focused on the social determinants of health. The company’s customers include health plans, health systems and hospitals, life science companies and nonprofit organizations across the United States.
“The social connectedness measure analyzes the influences of loneliness, quality of social networks, and social capital to provide a clear view of how they converge to impact social connectedness within a community,” said Alan Lattimer, chief analytics officer at Socially Determined, in an email provided by a rep.
And the metric also takes into account other data.
Lattimer said the company processes dozens of items, including geospatial data from the open platform SafeGraph; IRS migration data; and information about population density, climate, community resources, and recreation options in a particular area.
“These considerations allow us to visualize social connections and better understand a person’s capacity for meaningful, goal-directed interaction,” he said.
The new metric expands the company’s portfolio of community risk scores that assess social determinants at a “hyper-local level,” according to Socially Determined.
“It’s very well known that the social determinants of health can influence up to 80% of health outcomes,” Lattimer said. “This is a huge challenge for healthcare organizations because they have limited visibility into the factors that actually influence health..”
Social isolation is known to be a major risk factor for many different health issues.
A report national academies of science, engineering, and medicine found that social isolation was associated with an increased risk of dementia by about 50%, an increased risk of heart disease by 29%, and an increased risk stroke by 32%. Social isolation dramatically increases a person’s risk of premature death from any cause, and research suggests it could rival the risk of smoking, obesity and physical inactivity.
Socially Determined aims to shed light on the social determinants of territories through its analysis, which it calls Social Risk Intelligence. The company also provides solutions to organizations that are committed to acting effectively on social determinants.
“Our company is rooted in deep healthcare and technology expertise to provide comprehensive visibility into where and how socioeconomic factors impact communities and people,” Lattimer said.
Increasingly, healthcare organizations are trying to address social determinants to improve patient outcomes. One of the largest in the field, Unite Us, has created an SDOH platform through which it builds coordinated care networks of health and social service providers. Penn Medicine and Wharton Social Impact Initiative have a fund of 5 million dollars to “invest in start-up companies that work to strengthen the social determinants of health of economically disadvantaged Philadelphians.” Public companies like HealthCatalyst, which harness big data to improve patient health, provide analytics to help harness the insights.
Photo: FrankyDeMeyer, Getty Images