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In the News: July 25–Aug 1

CVS-Aetna Launch Social Determinants of Health Platform

A recent FierceHealthcare article highlights CVS Health’s decision to implement a series of initiatives addressing social determinants of health (SDOH) for Aetna plan members. The project will combine partnerships and analytical tools into a platform titled Destination: Health to help the company improve the health status of its beneficiaries.

The Aetna Foundation plans to partner with an SDOH software platform, Unite Us, to deliver impactful social services and care coordination to its members. Employers utilizing Aetna plans will have the ability to monitor the financial impacts of SDOH and provide CVS Health with data to create effective interventions that address the health status of high-risk employee populations. Destination: Health will also create additional funding for CVS Health’s affordable housing efforts toward building homes for the homeless or those with long-term illnesses.

As health care organizations gain experience addressing SDOH, and as the health care landscape shifts to value-based care, governments, payers and private organizations are likely to increase their financial investments in SDOH programs, which, in turn, will create opportunities for providers to expand their efforts to meet the needs of their communities and achieve their strategic goals. To learn more about ways to enhance SDOH efforts within your organization, please read the Sg2 FAQ The Social Determinants of Health: Taking Action Beyond the System of Care.


Online Check-ins May Influence Urgent Care Consumer Patterns

A Modern Healthcare article explores the use of Clockwise.MD, an online check-in platform used by Deaconess Clinic Urgent Care. The platform allows patients to see approximate wait times for all the health system’s urgent care clinics and choose the best time slot, mimicking the check-in process at the clinic’s front desk.

The tool not only helps patients with scheduling, but also updates the back-end queue data to provide staff with wait-time estimates for walk-ins and online check-ins as they occur. Since Deaconess began using Clockwise.MD in 2017, the urgent care center found a 70% decrease in patients who left the clinic without being seen or treated. This is likely a result of being able to anticipate wait times and select site of care accordingly. Additionally, the implementation of this new tool resulted in a 3% increase in overall patient satisfaction.

From urgent care to virtual health, consumers have more options than ever when it comes to accessing care. Defending and gaining market share in this new consumer ecosystem thus demands health systems better understand factors influencing consumer decision making and redesign offerings to be more responsive to consumer needs. To learn more about how your organization can become more consumer-centric, read the Sg2 report Reinventing the Patient Journey: A Consumerism Update and Outlook.


A New Approach to Diagnosing Autism in Children Is Discovered

Research conducted at the University of Waterloo, Canada, indicates the discovery of a more child-friendly screening test for symptoms of autism. The study used an eye-tracking system to follow children’s gazes when looking at images of different faces. As children engaged with the images, the specialized tracking system was able to locate where their gaze went first and to which points of the face their gaze traveled. Investigators found that compared to neurotypical children, autistic children spent more time studying the mouth and significantly less time looking at the eyes. This new method of detection measures behavioral tendencies that are more typical to autistic individuals.

Investigators argue that a gaze test is far less stressful for younger children than current procedures involving questionnaires and psychological evaluations. Professor Anita Layton, one of the study co-authors, emphasizes that “our technique is not just about behavior or whether a child is focusing on the mouth or eyes. It’s about how a child looks at everything,” furthering the movement toward early awareness and detection of pediatric behavioral health disorders.

With 1 out of 5 children in the US suffering from a mental health or developmental disorder each year and the increasingly high probability of comorbidities within pediatric patients, providers must begin to think about how to close gaps in access to pediatric services. Read the Sg2 FAQ Assessing Pediatric Behavioral Health for insights on what trends are impacting growth in pediatric behavioral health services and how they may affect your organization.

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