The Impact of Virtual Communities on STARS and SDoH

Sydney Codrington
April 26, 2023

Last week we discussed how virtual communities directly benefit age-inclusive healthcare. Not only does it solve social isolation and loneliness but it has a major impact on CAHPS and HOS star rating, cost-reductions, as well as a key part of health plans’ SDoH strategy.

To revisit our discussion on what virtual communities mean for age-inclusive healthcare, you can read about it here.

What is SSC? 

SecureSeniorConnections® (SSC) is dedicated to improving the healthcare member experience. With our large platform membership and outcomes data provided by our partners, SSC acts as a promising test platform for validating existing preventive interventions as well as a catalyst for innovating new ones.  

Through educational content and programming, fitness classes, and community building which eliminates loneliness and social isolation amongst older adults, SSC directly impacts key social determinants of health and over 60% of the CAHPS and HOS Star metrics.

In this blog post, we will discuss how our platform addresses the categories within the SDoH, CAHPS, and HOS; through videos, written content, and live virtual events. 

What SDoH problems do we solve?

Social determinants of health (SDOH) can be grouped into five categories: economic stability, education access and quality, healthcare access and quality, social and community context, neighborhood, and the built environment. SSC impacts 3 out of the 5 categories - education access and quality, healthcare access and quality, and social and community context.

Through providing educational content on topics such as diabetes care, brain/heart health, annual vaccines, and pain assessments, we ensure that our members understand the importance of staying up-to-date with routine and preventative care. 

Additionally, through our content and live virtual events our members have access to fitness programs to increase their physical activity, which has a key goal of fall risk prevention. Our events and platform content are provided by industry experts, which encourage SSC members to learn more about the changes their bodies are experiencing as they age - but also serves as a reminder to visit their doctor when needed. 

The SSC platform is also a virtual community where our members build long-lasting friendships and support each other. Loneliness and social isolation are directly addressed through community building. Research has shown that increased social engagement leads to a decrease in depression, immune dysfunction, and Alzheimer's, among many other illnesses and life-threatening diseases. 

What metrics does SSC help influence and improve?

Educating our members through health and fitness content on our platform, enables them to take action toward preventative care.

HOS measures the following:

  • Monitoring Physical Activity - SSC provides live and on-demand videos with a variety of fitness activities including Tai Chi, Chair Yoga, Pilates, and Aerobics
  • Improving Bladder Control - SSC provides written content and videos from industry experts on dealing with bladder control
  • Reducing the Risk of Falling - SSC provides written and video content from industry experts on fall prevention, dizziness, and imbalance.

CAHPS measures patient satisfaction with their healthcare provider, this includes the member experience, medication adherence, and healthcare access and compliance.

How SSC impacts Medicare Star Ratings?

The Medicare Star Ratings serve as a patient-oriented tool for healthcare consumers and their families to make informed decisions about their health insurance. These ratings are crucial measures of health plan quality and reflect how well the health plan takes care of its beneficiaries by considering several key clinical quality measures.

These measures are categorized into domains such as maintaining health, chronic disease management, member experience, member complaints, customer service, and drug plans, each of which has four separate domains for scoring.

Examples of measures that are assessed include annual flu vaccination, diabetes care, eye exams, health care quality rating, member retention, and the review of appeal decisions, among others.

Some educational content includes:

Videos (live and on-demand): Breathing for Diabetes Health with Nick Heath, Medication Safety with Nancy Taylor, and Age inclusive healthcare with Kris Geerken.

Written Content: For Your Health: Know Where To Get Care, Be Smart. Stay Safe. Get Vaccinated, and Watch Your Step! Better Vision Prevents Falls.

Through our secure platform, we ensure our members are well-informed on their medications/prescriptions, and regularly schedule their wellness visits. Offering SSC as a benefit allows plans to differentiate from their competitors,  therefore increasing member retention and acquisition, as well as making a positive impact. 

Download our one pager here.

To learn more about partnering with SSC, request a demo today!