Lawrence General Hospital Targets Food Insecurity Where It Counts 

With social factors influencing up to 80 percent of health outcomes, hospitals are increasingly working to address the social determinants of patient health by investing in their communities. Lawrence General Hospital is taking a strategic approach to this effort in Boston by funding $2.5 million in a city-led program that provides healthy food options in more than two dozen of the city’s bodegas, the Boston Globe reports. Historically, these convenience shops are too small to purchase and store fresh produce, the Globe says, but are still the primary food sources for many of the city’s poor.

“If you want to impact obesity and people’s health around the issue of food, you have do it where people go shopping, and that’s bodegas,” Mayor Daniel Rivera told the publication.

Now, many of the city’s bodegas offer prominently displayed fruits and vegetables, and customers are buying them, the Globe says.  

“We’re all about taking care of patients beyond the walls of the hospital and taking care of the needs of all of our communities,” Lawrence General President Dianne Anderson told the publication. 

Health Insurers Are Building Patient Profiles Based on Socioeconomic Data

Health insurers are gathering scores of patient data – including personal information gleaned from social media and other socioeconomic cues such as property, credit and other various lifestyle information —  and are using it to predict their health costs, NPR and ProPublica report. For example, Optum — which has gathered the medical diagnoses, tests, prescriptions, costs and socioeconomic data of 150 million Americans dating to 1993 — uses algorithms to make assumptions about patients' medical outcomes and costs from data about their education levels, net worth, family structure and race. 

Mayo’s Integrated Care Network Equals Faster Patient Treatments

The Mayo Clinic created an integrated community care network that makes specialists more accessible to patients, resulting in accelerated diagnoses and fewer patient visits, the Post Bulletin reports. By grouping a diverse network of experts together – such as specialists in psychiatry, pediatrics, and cardiology – patients are able to get multiple opinions in one visit, which can save crucial time. The specialists act nimbly, responding to calls and emails between visits and helping more people in a day than they would by normally scheduled appointments, Mayo primary care physician Sarah Crane told the publication.

Walmart’s Humana Hire Signals Commitment to Providing Health Care

As Walmart looks to expand its health care business partly by deepening ties with health insurer Humana — which already works with the retail giant on Medicare prescription drug plans —  it hired a former senior executive from the company to run its health care sector, Bloomberg reports. Walmart named Sean Slovenski, who was once vice president of innovation at Humana, its senior vice president of health and wellness. “We’ve decided to put more focus on our Health & Wellness business in the near term,” Walmart U.S. President and CEO Greg Foran said in an internal company memo, Bloomberg reports.