In an interview with HIT Advisor, Dr. Gary Rothenberg, Chief Medical Officer of Podimetrics talks about how healthcare know-how can assist help a deal with social determinants of well being (SDoH) to boost the connection between the affected person and doctor/care crew.
How can well being know-how play a task in serving to to deal with social determinants of well being (SDOH) on the subject of diabetes care?
Dr. Gary Rothenberg, Chief Medical Officer at Podimetrics: Whereas I’m a giant believer within the worth of know-how in constructing a brand new healthcare ecosystem that’s centered on worth versus filling hospital beds, I believe this can be a lengthy play.
At this time, sufferers — together with these dwelling with diabetes who I help in my position as a clinician, in academia, and as a director of medical affairs — are going through debilitating points particular to SDOH. These SDOH challenges range significantly — from not having sufficient cash to purchase their much-needed insulin to not having a automotive to get to a physician’s appointment.
Whereas tech can and will need to have a task to play — together with serving to to determine probably the most at-risk sufferers we will goal for help — we, as clinicians, have an enormous position to play ourselves as leaders of the affected person care crew. Being an efficient healthcare supplier remains to be a human ability to observe and excellent. It requires that we discuss to individuals, contact them with our palms for examinations, and troubleshoot their fears and issues.
The vital position of group well being has been round for a couple of a long time inside U.S. well being programs. If group well being work was the reply to addressing SDOH, wouldn’t we be additional alongside in fixing these issues by now?
Dr. Rothenberg: Brief reply, no. The inhabitants of individuals going through SDOH challenges has continued to develop yr over yr, and the pandemic solely additional exacerbated these points — particularly for many who had been already susceptible earlier than COVID got here our method. In tandem, we haven’t had the will increase in investments particular to group well being work to maintain up with this rising demand.
Primarily, we’ve a reasonably important provide and demand situation at hand — which means extra individuals needing help and fewer group well being employees and associated sources to help them.
We want extra authorities funding in group well being — notably in relation to workforce investments — as a way to considerably rework group care. Additionally, the main target should be on worth, not fee-for-service, as a way to drive towards measurable, long-lasting change for sufferers dwelling with SDOH challenges.
How is well being know-how, and particularly well being tech utilizing AI, uniquely in a position to tackle points pertaining to SDOH?
Dr. Rothenberg: I discussed danger stratification earlier than. AI has a particular position to play right here. The truth is that the healthcare business — and clinicians particularly — are wealthy in knowledge however poor in insights — which means that whereas we’ve entry to a whole lot of knowledge, there’s not a lot information we will derive from that knowledge at present when and the place we’d like it most.
That is the place I see an enormous alternative for AI — in with the ability to cull by way of huge quantities of knowledge, derive actionable insights, and supply these insights to the care crew on the level of care and/or earlier than an in-person or digital seek the advice of.
With the suitable coaching and medical steerage, AI can and will play an enormous position on the subject of large knowledge and layering on analytics with the tip aim being to help the healthcare system’s transition to preventive, proactive care.
Curiosity within the potential of well being tech, and particularly using AI, and its capacity to deal with long-standing challenges similar to SDOH stays excessive. Is AI a robust reply to the issues related to SDOH identification and help?
Dr. Rothenberg: AI isn’t the end-all, be-all reply to addressing SDOH. It’s, nevertheless, an enabler of innovation that may assist drive a much-needed change in figuring out our most susceptible sufferers and getting them entry to the kind of care that matches their wants and focuses on worth. Nonetheless, that’s going to take extra time. And whereas I’m simply as excited as others about ChatGPT, I nonetheless don’t assume it’s prepared for healthcare prime time.
There are different non-AI kinds of innovation particular to SDOH that excite me personally and have nearer-term potential — for instance, the “meals is drugs” motion and the associated latest announcement from Instacart Well being.
Constructing on this announcement, Boston Youngsters’s Hospital is now among the many first well being programs to leverage Instacart Well being supplier merchandise for its sufferers, establishing new meals as drugs applications to assist them get the nourishment they should handle and keep their well being. Meals performs such a vital position in our well being and well-being, and the concept know-how can break down entry obstacles to nutritious meals actually holds the potential to forestall critical and dear continual ailments like diabetes — a illness that adversely impacts individuals of shade at present in a really important method.
What’s the way forward for well being tech in relation to addressing SDOH?
Dr. Rothenberg: The way forward for well being tech on the subject of addressing SDOH ought to seem like this in healthcare:
- Preventive — Tech identifies the sufferers most susceptible to well being points;
- Proactive — Tech helps clinicians and care groups simplify engagement with these sufferers early and infrequently;
- Personalised — Tech helps enhance affected person expertise and supply insights/help in a personalised, patient-centric method from the consolation of their residence when doable; and
- Passionate — Tech ought to assist make individuals and excited to interact and take part in their very own care and well-being, and it ought to, in flip, reignite ardour for affected person care with physicians as nicely.
About Dr. Gary Rothenberg
Dr. Gary Rothenberg is a board-certified podiatrist with greater than 20 years of expertise that features academia, medical observe, and analysis. His analysis focuses on stopping decrease extremity problems related to diabetes. As Podimetrics’ Director of Medical Affairs, he additionally serves as an Affiliate Professor of Inner Medication within the Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology, and Diabetes on the College of Michigan. He graduated from the Ohio School of Podiatric Medication and accomplished his major podiatry medical residency coaching and podiatric surgical residency on the College of Texas Well being Science Heart.