Capitol Correspondence - 11.19.19

Big Picture Health Trends: Hospitals Take on Social Determinants, Amazon Develops Health Care App

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The connections between housing, technology and a person’s health are keenly felt in the disability community, which faces greater shortages and unmet needs in all three of these aspects of life compared to peers without disabilities. The content below shows how conversations surrounding these topics could evolve in coming years.

Politico Pulse reports hospitals and health systems invest $700M in social determinants of health: “Fourteen hospitals and health systems are teaming up to address the economic, racial and environmental disparities that can lead to poor health, POLITICO’s Rachel Roubein writes.

The investments come from providers like UMass Memorial HealthCare, the Henry Ford Health System and Kaiser Permanente. They’ll have five years to invest the funds in the communities they serve, such as financing affordable housing developments, new grocery stores in food deserts, child care centers and minority- and women-owned businesses.

‘This is a big shift in the industry,’ said David Zuckerman, Healthcare Anchor Network director. The network convenes health systems to share best practices on improving community health and is coordinating the new initiative.”


CNBC reports Amazon releases primary care app to reduce rising health care costs: “Amazon has now launched its Amazon Care app into major app stores as part of its strategy to help its Seattle-area employees get more convenient and affordable health care.

Amazon Care, which CNBC uncovered this fall, has been in the works for a few years. A website — — is live, and the company recently released apps that offer health advice, virtual medical visits and in-person support via a health professional that shows up at an employee’s home or office.

Some giant companies like Amazon are moving into primary care to clamp down on rising health care costs, hoping it can help avoid costly emergency visits by catching health problems earlier. The program could also help Amazon recruit and retain talent, as many companies will offer telemedicine apps but few — with the notable exception of Apple — put their own spin on the service. In addition, Amazon has hired a mix of technical, product and analytics talent, not just clinicians, suggesting that that Amazon could use the service to collect and analyze health data about a large population, which could be useful as it pushes deeper into the $3.5 trillion health care space.”

The article proceeds to describe the user experience with Amazon Care.