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Kaiser, Dignity Health executives: Better strategy needed to get ROI from social determinants initiatives

February 04, 2019 / Heather Landi

Health systems are increasingly investing in programs to address "social determinants" in healthcare like food and housing insecurity. But too often those efforts are still too fragmented to make the intended impact. That was the message from executives from Kaiser Permanente, Dignity Health and Centene, who said their own organizations have put money into these traditionally nonclinical areas of patients' lives but see a wider industry struggle to properly scale these efforts. There needs to be a strategic shift in thinking in order to leverage the full impact of these programs, they said during a recent conference in New York City. “We’ve done some really good work, but it was really random acts of kindness,” said Rich Roth, chief strategic innovation officer at Dignity Health. “We have now become more focused and directed and shifted that community benefit model to one of community health.”