Social Determinants of Health and Real-world Data Helping to Bridge the DEI Gap


Verana Health

In today’s data-driven world, the convergence of healthcare and technology has revealed new avenues to help improve public health. One area where this intersection is helping to make a significant impact is social determinants of health (SDoH). Social determinants encompass a broad range of factors, including economic stability, education, social and community context, healthcare access, and neighborhood and built environment, all of which play a pivotal role in shaping our overall well-being. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, SDoH effect between 30% to 50% of health outcomes. Real-world data (RWD), bolstered by the capacity to process and analyze vast amounts of information, can be a game-changer in unraveling the intricate connections between these determinants and health outcomes.

At the forefront of these data sources are patient medical registries. Succinctly put, “Registries have a unique opportunity to turn the wheels of change through their close interactions with the community of patients they represent.” These registries can primarily serve the following functions:

  • Data Collection: Vast amounts of RWD are being generated daily. These data sources are crucial in helping to identify trends and patterns related to social determinants.
  • Predictive Analytics: RWD assists healthcare professionals in helping to predict health outcomes by analyzing an individual’s social determinants. For example, identifying communities with high rates of poverty, limited access to healthy food, and subpar living conditions, can help predict health disparities and tailor interventions accordingly.
  • Targeted Interventions: By understanding how social determinants affect a person’s health, healthcare organizations and policymakers can create targeted interventions to address specific issues. This includes investments in education, affordable housing, community programs, and other initiatives that can help mitigate the negative impact of social determinants.
  • Monitoring Health Inequalities: RWD supports the continuous monitoring of health inequalities over time. This real-time data can inform public health strategies and ensure that interventions are effective in reducing disparities.

The Verana Research Network (VRN) is working to position itself to utilize de-identified medical registry data to understand SDoH and possible solutions. The clinical trial space needs to account for SDoH in study design and execution. Consider this sobering statistic: “A large SWOG Cancer Research Network cohort analysis of pooled data demonstrated that only patients with private insurance had an overall survival and a progression-free survival benefit from experimental therapies compared with those with Medicaid or no insurance.”

Lastly, while medical registries can be extremely beneficial in helping to determine and account for SDoH, careful consideration is needed as we deploy technology in clinical trials, so as not to exclude certain populations that may not have access or knowledge to use that technology. SDoH will only become more important as time goes on, as addressing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in clinical trials is now an FDA mandate. Verana Health is actively exploring ways to track SDoH and increase DEI in clinical trials. View our website at, or contact us directly, to learn about future programs.

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