Predicting health trends and planning relevant services can be challenging for pharmacy corporate leadership. From striving to improve medication adherence programs to providing better walk-in care services, pharmacies face numerous obstacles to achieving optimal health outcomes for their patients.

Incorporating targeted social determinants of health (SDOH) can uncover opportunities to improve health, patient engagement, and patient retention outcomes that might otherwise be missed. This valuable patient data aids pharmacy industry leaders in identifying opportunities to expand, optimize and innovate.

Improve Medication Adherence Programs & Walk-in Services

Social determinants of health are the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age that influence their likelihood to develop specific health conditions and provide potential barriers to care.

One way that SDOH data can help drive pharmacy planning is by improving medication adherence. Each pharmacy will have a list of patients due for script refills, but is it necessary to call or text each patient? How should resources be allocated to different patients? SDOH data can help prioritize the list, based on the best criteria for the desired outcome.

Pharmacies may provide discounts to use transportation services or simply connect patients with a transportation service. Automated texts can be pushed to patients whose prescriptions are due to be refilled. Also, more pharmacies have found it necessary to provide more robust patient care in the form of walk-in retail clinics. Social determinants data can provide guidance on where to locate those services.

With SDOH data, pharmacies can engage patients to improve health outcomes and meet quality standards in providing value-based care, allowing them to meet their patients where they are.

Why Not Clinical Data Alone?

Patient health is impacted every day by social, economic, and environmental factors. Medical care determines only 20% of overall health, according to County Health Rankings. Social, economic, and environmental factors determine 50% of overall health. A few examples:

  • Social isolation can increase risk of heart disease by 29% and stroke by 32%
  • Lower education levels are correlated with higher likelihood of smoking and shorter life expectancy
  • 75-90% of primary care visits are due to effects of stress, which also correlate with lower medication adherence. Money, work, and family responsibilities are the top 3 causes of stress.

In the pharmacy world, this understanding of patients’ everyday lives can shape programming on multiple levels. With this data, pharmacy organizations are better positioned to create new patient engagement programs that improve the overall care experience.

Learn more about how integrating social determinants of health insights improves medication adherence.