White House works with health tech companies to address social determinants of health

A number of major health technology companies have partnered with the White House in an effort to standardize the sharing of patient data on social determinants of health.

The White House announced a Sync for Social Needs coalition that includes Oracle-Cerner, Geisinger, Epic, Rush University System for Health and many more. As part of the program, the coalition, which also includes the Department of Veterans Affairs, will collectively evaluate and pilot the integration of specific social screening tools in electronic medical record (EMR) systems.

The coalition will also commit to working with participants to scale the standardized practices to lower the clinician burden to screen for social needs.

The partnership comes as the White House has focused on addressing social determinants of health, which are the social and economic conditions that can impact physical health, such as food and housing security, education and more. In addition to Sync for Social Needs, the Biden administration announced a score of other efforts, including improving access to healthy food and nutrition through numerous other partnerships with organizations like AARP and private companies such as Instacart

The White House appears to be pushing for integration of social determinants of health within EMRs. Healthcare organizations and providers may be more effective treating patients and preventing worse health outcomes with more information and their patients’ social and economic information within their health information. 

In total, the White House announced $8 billion in commitments from partners. The partnerships and commitments were part of the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health, which President Biden hosted for the first time in more than half a century.

“This summer, the White House launched a nationwide call to action to meet the ambitious goals laid out by the president,” the White House stated. “Across the whole of society, Americans responded – and advanced more than $8 billion in private- and public-sector commitments. These range from bold philanthropic contributions and in-kind donations to community-based organizations, to catalytic investments in new businesses and new ways of screening for and integrating nutrition into healthcare delivery.”

Of the $8 billion, $2.5 billion will be invested in startup companies addressing hunger and food insecurity. More than $4 billion is dedicated to philanthropy for improving access to nutritious food, promoting healthy choices and increasing physical activity.

Amy Baxter

Amy joined TriMed Media as a Senior Writer for HealthExec after covering home care for three years. When not writing about all things healthcare, she fulfills her lifelong dream of becoming a pirate by sailing in regattas and enjoying rum. Fun fact: she sailed 333 miles across Lake Michigan in the Chicago Yacht Club "Race to Mackinac."

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