Trends in health equity and personalization in 2023

January 11, 2023

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A new year always comes with change. And according to fall healthcare industry conferences, equity, data and community building will be key to industry and public health success in 2023.

Soda Health attended the RISE West Conference and the Social Determinants of Health Policy Forum, among other gatherings with healthcare leaders, and came home with insight and best practices on community health interventions. These were some of the biggest takeaways for organizations working in the healthcare space.



Personalization and data at scale is a prerequisite for moving toward health equity.

At the SDOH Policy Forum, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services leadership made it clear that gathering and utilizing more data will be key to innovating healthcare in 2023 and beyond. Learning about consumer behavior and need based on what benefits were used during COVID-19 emergency assistance is just the beginning.

Health plans are now being asked to not only collect more data about care gaps, food deserts and more—but they’re also being asked to use the data to demonstrate what’s working and why. Specific guidance about what this looks like is still to be announced, but healthcare organizations should prepare to level up when it comes to piloting and testing ideas.

The intersection of healthcare and technology is no longer new—and needs to keep innovating.

At RISE, a Medicare Advantage senior leadership conference, sessions shed light on the ways that nonprofits, businesses and health plans can partner to achieve health equity goals and the need for innovation in supplemental benefits and engagement. Speakers emphasized that innovation and personalization can help change the fact that someone’s zip code is more indicative of their health outcomes than their DNA.

Social needs were a theme among presenters, and technology-driven engagements targeted specific conditions with supplemental benefits: hypertension among members in food deserts and diaper rash and UTIs among families who needed diapers. The distribution of fresh produce, free diapers and health education resulted in meaningful supplemental benefits that also built affinity and appreciation for health plans and retailers—not to mention measurable results such as lower blood pressure and fewer UTI claims. Increases in technology-based engagement also led to in-person touch points and assessments of need happening where they wouldn’t have otherwise. Healthcare is now more than ever truly hybrid: Engagement is engagement, whether it begins digitally or in person.

“Virtual care and technology or digital innovation is no longer a novel thing that we can set on a shelf and say it is one of the channels or modalities of care. In fact, we will have to move significantly and quickly toward the concept that all care is care,” said Soda Health Vice President Liz Baker.

Consumers and communities know best what they need and want.

Human-centered design was a recurring theme at the Social Determinants of Health Policy Forum in Washington, D.C. Presenters emphasized how crucial it is to empower communities to determine their needs themselves through site visits, interviews, focus groups, steering committees and research. Avoid the too-common pitfall of seeking feedback as performative lip service, though. Human-centered design of programs should amplify the voices of affected community members, and private-sector partners should consider collaborating with local organizations that are already doing great work rather than reinventing the wheel without context.

When this kind of consumer-focused and personalized work happens, organizations see great success. One nonprofit showcased mitigating the effects of lead poisoning with healthy housing in Baltimore. These interventions decreased hospitalization, emergency room visits and days missed from school. But even with significant financial savings to the economy through these interventions, there wasn’t a proportionate reinvestment back into the community to address the root cause of issues. The conclusion? It’s critical to have diverse representation on all decision-making boards in organizations to make scalable and sustainable progress on the social determinants of health.

Soda Health can help members, health plans and retailers be part of the solution.

There’s so much room to innovate the way that supplemental benefits can impact members’ social determinants of health. It’s not always easy for healthcare plans and businesses to address health equity, gather and use relevant data and use human-centered design. But there are solutions available to make a difference in both social determinants of health and organizations’ bottom lines. It is possible to personalize what patients and members want—and to do that at scale.

Too often, the options for implementing supplemental benefits are static, standardized and confusing for customers. Soda Health’s advantage is the dynamic and intelligent approach to identifying and offering benefits on one simple and easy-to-use card. Soda Health is uniquely positioned to offer the right combination of education, engagement, social impact and financial results for you.

Reach out to hear more about how Soda Health can help meet your goals.