Identifying vs. implementing social determinants impacting geohealth are two important yet significantly different processes. Let me explain.

Have you ever discovered something so fantastic that you just can’t wait to tell everyone/anyone?? It’s an idea so cool that you just about wet your pants when you thought of it. Be honest, we’ve all been there or at least wish we have. Well, the idea that health and wellness of people is not only tied to medical interventions, but also social ones is such a finding. It’s about social determinants and their role in patient health, community healthiness and quality of life. It’s these Social Determinants of Health or (SDOH) data sets that we are so excited about. The healthcare industry seems convinced that those who have been proposing this concept are correct. Just think. People who did not thrive or survive in the past will do so in the future if we pay more attention to non-health data going forward. Here we go again, better find a bathroom.

In a recent article from Innovaccer, it’s noted that SDOH data have to do with how we live, learn, work and play. They grouped them into 5 denominations: “1) Economic instability – poverty, employment, food security, housing stability; 2) Education – high school graduation, enrollment in higher education, language literacy, early childhood education and development; 3) Social and Community context – social cohesion, civic participation, discrimination, incarceration; 4) Health and Health Care – access to health care, access to primary care, health literacy; and 5) Neighborhood and Built Environment – access to healthy foods, quality of housing, crime and violence, environmental conditions.”

Knowing about SDOH is one thing; doing something about it is yet another thing. Identifying, cleaning and integrating SDOH data layers in healthcare analytics may be overwhelming for some and complex for others. Here is the exciting part for us. For many years, we have had an interest on the intangible/people side of issues. Thus, dealing with people and their environment has been an important focus for our team. In fact, we started working with a geospatial application that exploits integration of SDOH with tangible (medical and demographic) factors before it became fashionable. Our application offers the real potential to exploit SDOH data for the future benefit of full health for patients beyond the hospital/clinic.

Bottom line: The potential to fully exploit the integration of SDOH into a patient’s healthcare program raises hope that optimal healing and wholeness is at hand. Ultimately, it’s all about preventative care, about the interface of economics and demography with medicine, about patient health and the wellness of the community – i.e., quality of life!

GeoDimensional Decision Group will be demonstrating our solution at the NAACOS2017 Spring Conference. Come and see us at Table #52. No, we won’t have a porta potty, but we’ll have great ideas to share with you just the same.

©Gregory T. Reinecke

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