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Addressing SDOH to Impact Health Goals “Social Determinants of Health”

Making Care More Accessible: How Axion Helps Overcome Social Determinants of Health 

No two patient journeys are the same — each of which are influenced by numerous factors that are ever-changing. And when we talk about getting the right care, the discussion tends to focus on our experience within the four walls of a doctor’s office, from the physician we see to the tests or medications we’re given.

But there are people with circumstances that prevent them from even getting to the door. What about them? 


We refer to these factors as social determinants of health (SDOH). They are the conditions in which we are born, live, work, play, and age that can impact our health outcomes — a lot of which are things some people will never have to think about throughout their patient experience. But for others, they’re major hurdles in getting the care they need. 


Axion is dedicated to considering all the factors. Our team provides support to providers that minimize the social determinants of health so they can help their members get the care they need. 


Understanding the Effects of Social Determinants

In order to truly address a patient’s health needs, you have to understand their non-health related needs. Today more than ever, the number of outside influences that can impact someone’s ability to take care of the health risks they may face have made it harder for providers to serve their patients.  In some cases, that’s as simple as having the means of transportation to get to an appointment. In others, it’s having the finances to pay for medications or co-pays. 


Add the lingering effects of a recent pandemic, plus today’s soaring inflation, and these social implications have only expanded to impact more of the general population in different ways.  We all know it’s inexpensive to eat poorly (and expensive to eat well), and we’ve seen the effects this can have as diabetes or obesity continue to be a widespread concern.  We’ve also seen the high costs of medications impact patient compliance, especially in lower-income communities — how can I make a 1-month supply last them 3 months? Or even, not take them at all? 


How Axion Helps Patients Overcome Social Determinants 


For providers, the biggest challenge in overcoming social determinants is getting access to the resources they need to do so. Axion establishes these connections and performs the outreach to get everyone more informed and make solutions more accessible. Here are some examples of what that looks like. 


  • Lack of Transportation.
    If access to a vehicle or public transportation to get to an annual wellness appointment or to the pharmacy is the issue, Axion can rconnect members with local resources that provide rides based on income or age-related barriers. This could be through a local charity or resources that the insurance company may provide.
  • Poor Nutrition / Access to Healthy Foods.
    For many cases involving members in disease states, such as diabetes, their conditions become more severe because these individuals lack the understanding of how to eat or they don’t have access to fresh foods. In these scenarios, Axion can employ both clinical and diabetic educators to not only get an appointment scheduled, but can educate them on what to eat, find resources that get them access to items in their budget, as well as resources to increase that budget.
  • Financial Barriers.
    When a patient is worried about the costs of a co-pay, appointment, or medication, the most common solution is to put it off or avoid it altogether. Axion can help connect these patients with programs that can help cover these expenses and/or offer plans to make them more manageable.

    It’s also common to have members that simply aren’t aware of the benefits that their plans provide. Maybe some of the over-the-counter drugs or transportation they need are actually already covered by their insurance. Axion serves as a resource to educate them on these benefits that alleviate financial burdens, so they can make more educated decisions about their care.  


How Axion Works with Providers

Education is the backbone of what we do. Whether it’s educating a member on benefits to their insurance they may not even know they have, or it’s helping providers understand the social determinants their specific members are facing and where they are stemming from, Axion is a trusted partner in not only bringing these issues to the surface, but also finding resources to overcome them.

We have a blended model of clinical and non-clinical team members that can work with health insurance providers to gather all the member data to establish an outreach plan. Through phone calls and data retrieval, we’ll work to help you increase the number of annual wellness visits attended by your members to proactively combat more serious health issues down the road. 


And appointment participation is only the start. At Axion, we’re not just looking at your members as a number. We make sure they continue to have the resources they need to be upfront with their care. From educating on the importance of getting a certain screening to steps they can take to prevent further health risks, we build a relationship with each member so they can trust, so that they feel empowered to engage in their care for more positive outcomes. 


To learn more about the social determinants impacting your members’ health journey, and how to partner with Axion to help them overcome them, contact us today.