Updated as of June, 2020
Socioeconomic and place-based factors—collectively known as social determinants of health (SDOH)—are affecting how communities and individuals are coping with the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis. COVID-19 has left Americans who are living with social determinant risk more vulnerable than ever before.
Social determinants of health include the influences and systems that affect daily life; they impact overall health, well-being, and longevity to a greater extent than medical care itself and are the main drivers of health disparities and inequities.
Occupational and employment status, income level, food insecurity, education, transportation availability, racial segregation, housing access, and social support and community inclusivity are social determinants that figure prominently in the COVID-19 pandemic.
As people lose their jobs and health insurance because of the growing economic fallout, they join the ranks of Americans with increasing social determinant risk. Statistics foreshadow increasing stress on the safety net and the economy:
For many Americans, food insecurity has materialized or has been exacerbated by loss of income; efforts to control the spread of virus, including sheltering-in-place and social distancing directives; reduced options for public transit; and empty food shelves caused by overbuying and hoarding:
School closings due to COVID-19 have placed a strain on parental employment, and there is concern that some students may fall behind without formal instruction. In addition, families that depend on subsidized or free breakfast and lunch are experiencing greater food insecurity:
Social determinant risk is common in nursing homes, as residents are often poor and rely on Medicaid. Being elderly with chronic conditions leaves seniors highly susceptible to the ravages of COVID-19:
Inequities related to crowded housing, segregation of poor communities in urban environments, essential workplace jobs, high rates of chronic disease, and an inability to afford or secure critical medicines contribute to COVID-19-related morbidity and mortality:
With mitigation efforts underway, various initiatives specific to COVID-19 and social determinant risk are being implemented. To name a few:
While multiple initiatives have targeted COVID-19, expanded and sustained effort will be required to limit its impact over the coming months.
As a leading provider of data and technology solutions, Veradigm is supporting providers and their patients, including those affected by socioeconomic and place-based risk.
Importantly, Veradigm is continuing its longstanding policy to offer services related to its EHR platforms, without charge, to the free clinics serving on the front lines of the pandemic.
During the peak period of this crisis, Veradigm is offering free videoconferencing to its healthcare providers to enable delivery of services through telemedicine.
In addition, Veradigm is a founding member of a consortium of leading healthcare companies who announced the launch of the COVID-19 Research Database, a secure repository of HIPAA-compliant, de-identified, limited pandemic-related patient data. The repository, which includes real-world data from electronic health records and medical and pharmacy claims, has been made available, pro-bono, to public health and policy researchers for generating insights into the COVID-19 pandemic.
Other Veradigm initiatives with relevance to COVID-19 and social determinant risk include
During these extraordinary times, Veradigm is acting rapidly and doing its part to enhance healthcare delivery and ensure access to datasets and analytics to understand and help mitigate the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
AMIA Symposium. Extracting and standardizing social determinants of health diagnosis from problems list from a large ambulatory electronic health record (EHR) database. 19 Nov 2019.