AMA and UnitedHealthcare Collab to Address SDoH to Improve Access to Care

Samara Rosenfeld
APRIL 02, 2019
population health

The American Medical Association (AMA) and UnitedHealthcare today announced a partnership to better identify and address the social determinants of health to improve access to care and patient outcomes.

The organizations are working to standardize how data are collected, processed and integrated regarding critical social and environmental factors that can impact a patient’s well-being.

“By working together to leverage data, technology and the incredible expertise of our network physicians, we can more effectively address the social factors that limit access to healthcare,” said Bill Hagan, president of clinical services at UnitedHealthcare.

UnitedHealthcare and the AMA are supporting the creation of nearly two dozen new ICD-10 (International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision) codes related to the social determinants of health. The codes combine traditional medical data with self-reported social determinants of health data to trigger referrals to social and government services to address people’s unique needs and connect them directly to local and national resources.

“This collaboration reinforces the importance of social and environmental factors in patient care and will shape (Integrated Health Model Initiative’s) efforts to support clinical decisions with useful and valid data to achieve broad improvements in health and greater health equity,” said Tom Giannulli, chief medical information officer of AMA’s Integrated Health Model Initiative.

Identifying and collecting critical factors of patient well-being, such as employment, education, food, housing and access to transportation, are essential to improving health and wellness.

UnitedHealthcare partners with national and local community-based organizations to expand access to these services to millions of people. The organization has made more than 700,000 social-service referrals, while the AMA’s Integrated Health Model Initiative group is focused on market-driven needs in healthcare data interoperability to unlock potential improvements in patient outcomes.

Together, the partnership could add to the success of patient-centric healthcare by helping underserved individuals and families get on a path to better health and simplifying how referrals are made to social services.

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