Acting on Social Determinants Data

Population health is all about informatics—it’s all about understanding the data and translating it into the clinical and socioeconomic risks of a specific group.

For Harm J. Scherpbier, MD, MS, chief medical information officer at HSX, informatics is critical to analyze a variety of data—behavioral, environmental, social and healthcare—to better understand who in our community are most at risk for certain diseases.

Scherpbier’s work shows the importance of using informatics to act on social determinants data, helping healthcare professionals improve risk prediction accuracy and revealing trends. For example, informatics helped to understand how food insecurity effects hospital admission and readmissions.

Analyses show that diabetics are 27 percent more likely to be hospitalized in the last week of the month when monthly food budgets are exhausted. It was also uncovered that children who experience food insecurity are 30 percent more likely to be hospitalized by age three.

Why informatics? So, we can act on social determinants data to improve people’s health through integrated social services.