Research continues to show that addressing social determinants of health (SDOH) is critical to closing care gaps, improving health equity, and driving better health outcomes for populations across the country. From Medicare Advantage to Medicaid and commercial payers focused on individual and family insurance plans, identifying health-related social issues like lack of transportation, limited geographical provider access or food insecurity, is key.
This is why VirtualHealth’s HELIOS platform features integrations designed to help to support healthcare organizations to drive value-based care forward. Specifically, we work with community-focused partners who work to connect health plan members to resources and programs in their areas that can help them solve SDOH-related healthcare obstacles.
Recently, our Vice President of Marketing, Rob McChane, sat down with one of our partners, findhelp. We spoke with Art Lopez, Vice President of Business Development & Partnerships to give an inside look at findhelp, the importance of addressing SDOH, and how VirtualHealth and findhelp are working together to transform whole-person health and bridge current gaps in SDOH.
VirtualHealth (VH): We saw findhelp recently was a 2023 Best in KLAS Award winner for Social Determinants of Health Network. Can you please tell us a bit about findhelp and how it’s evolved over the years to address SDOH?
findhelp (FH): We are honored to have received Best in KLAS for the third year for Social Determinants of Health Network. Findhelp is the company modernizing America’s social safety net for anyone who needs help or helps others. With the largest network of community-based organizations and proprietary technology that intelligently matches people with the resources they need, findhelp is the fastest and most reliable way to get help with privacy and dignity. We are headquartered in Austin, Texas and have been enabling healthcare, government, education, and other organizations to connect people with the social care resources that serve them since 2010.
VH: Why is SDOH so critical to address?
FH: Social Determinants of Health or SDOH are critical because they can have a significant impact on an individual’s health, wellness, and quality of life. According to the CDC, social determinants of health have been shown to have a greater influence on health than either genetic factors or access to healthcare services. (link)
VH: Which SDOH challenges does findhelp see as most common/frequent among Medicaid and Medicare populations?
FH: Based on search data spanning across over 500 findhelp customers, we have seen that the most common search terms are housing and food across the U.S.
VH: Do you see any trends coming into 2023 around SDOH and healthcare?
FH: We are continuing to see many individuals seeking social care, with the number of searches on the findhelp platform growing to over 1M more per month. With this increased need, many organizations are addressing SDOH concerns through health equity initiatives and growing relationships with their community partners. Within healthcare, we are seeing increased requirements for addressing and screening for social needs. Beginning this year, the Joint Commission enacted requirements for organizations to screen for social needs in an effort to reduce health disparities. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service (CMS) recently approved a new rule, the first such measure at the federal level, to track social care screening and identified needs. Beginning in 2024 hospitals will be required to report social need screening percentages. We predict that we will see more healthcare institutions focus on social care in the future alongside these regulations.
VH: Let’s talk about the Virtual Health + findhelp partnership a bit. How are you two working together to deliver on solving SDOH + health equity goals?
FH: VirtualHealth and findhelp are partnering to support searching and referral for community resources directly within the HELIOS platform. Organizations already working with VirtualHealth will now be able to tap into the most robust social care network in the country as an easy step within the workflow.
[Watch our exclusive webinar with find help and NC Integrated Care for Kids about SDOH by clicking the image below.]
VH: Can you let us know any customers you’re aware of using FH + VH on your side that you think would be open to sharing information/details or a story (data is ideal, but we’d love to just hear how a company is solving SDOH that’s using findhelp and HELIOS together.
FH: We are excited to announce a number of pilot organizations that will begin leveraging this integration this year and will be happy to share these once they are up and running.
VH: Why do you think creating an ecosystem of partners is important to not only SDOH but the healthcare organizations addressing them?
FH: Partnerships are key to helping address SDOH needs in a community. Within this ecosystem are integration partners, community partners, and agency partners such as United Ways and 211s. Integration partnerships allow organizations to easily make connections between the people they support and programs providing social care. By partnering with organizations like VirtualHealth, we can incorporate addressing social needs and making referrals to community resources into current day workflows allowing for ease of use and removing barriers to getting individuals the help they need.
About Art Lopez, Vice President of Business Development & Partnerships at findhelp
Art is a healthcare executive with over 17 years of experience working with early-stage companies at the forefront of the market, specifically in growth-oriented roles focused on commercial and operational development, go-to-market strategy, strategic partnerships, and sales & marketing. His experience spans the key segments, providing a deep understanding of how they tie together in the rapidly evolving healthcare ecosystem. He is passionate and driven about improving the delivery and intersection of social services and healthcare.