Jacob Reider, M.D., chief executive officer, Alliance for Better Health, former deputy national coordinator for health information technology at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), will moderate a fireside chat on the federal government’s plans to address social determinants of health at The RISE National Summit on Social Determinants of Health on March 15-17 in Nashville. In this article, Reider shares his thoughts on the value of cross-sector collaboration.

Reider is encouraged by the health care industry's increased interest in addressing social determinants of health (SDoH) but says it still has a long way to go.

Indeed, Reider has noticed momentum building in the business case of addressing SDoH, the conditions in the places that people live, learn, work, and play that influence health status and outcomes.

“The national health plans have put real dollars into this; we are seeing regional health plans put real dollars into this, and we’re seeing state governments starting to explicitly address these matters through their departments of health and not just through social services departments,” he says.

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Reider credits the industry’s focus on social determinants to the migration toward value-based payments. “We’re evolving toward value-based payment wherein organizations, health systems, etc., are now thinking about reducing the number of people who land in the emergency department and increasing the number of people in the community who are healthy,” he says.

When it comes to health care, Reider believes “more health, less care.” “I think as we move to value-based payment, there’s recognition that health and care are different. And if we invest in health, which is inexpensive, then we don’t need to invest in care, which is expensive. That’s really important.”

Progress continues because organizations must now think about how to keep people healthy rather than how to provide more services, Reider says.

What the future holds

Cross-sector collaboration rather than “siloed endeavors” is required for success in the SDoH domain, says Reider. “It’s complicated because in many cases, organizations seek to compete with each other and therefore are resistant to true collaboration, but I think that’s what we all need to work toward.”

That’s why The RISE National Summit on Social Determinants of Health is so important, he says,  because it brings together community-based organizations, payers, hospitals/health systems, foundations, funders, vendors and government entities. Reider says he’s looking forward to learning what organizations in other communities have done because “we’ve not solved all the problems, and we don’t have all the answers.”

Reider will moderate a keynote fireside chat with Kelly Cronin, deputy administrator, innovation and partnership, HHS Administration for Community Living (ACL), during the conference. Cronin will share strides made by HHS at the community and state level, insights into key issues such as intersection with data and technology, potential payment scenarios for the future, and the future state of a culture of accountability, improvement, and outcomes. “I’m hoping that folks build an understanding of how the public sector and the private sector are interdependent,” says Reider.

He also anticipates that the industry will see a continued focus on interoperability over the next 12 to 36 months. The result: health care delivery organizations will be able to easily make referrals to social care providers directly from their clinical systems, something that wasn’t even conceivable a year ago.

“I’m not saying it’s finished; it’s not yet perfectly organized, but all of that is evolving and as we saw in health care delivery organizations, the electronification of processes allowed for scaling of those processes in a manner that the paper, or telephone call, or fax machine, or sticky note did not, and so that’s exciting. It’ll make the system much more efficient and effective,” he says.

Editor's note: The RISE National Summit on Social Determinants of Health has been postponed until June 28-30, 2020 in the same location, the Omni Nashville Hotel. Click here to register.