Social Determinants Informatics with Algorex Health & Carrot Health - Cover

Social Determinants Informatics with Algorex Health & Carrot Health

Take a second to think about all the things that happen outside of the hospital that affect someone's health—there are a lot. We have social programs around mental health, housing insecurity, food insecurity, job insecurity, and more, all of which have a huge impact on a person’s health.

With so many factors that impact an individual’s health, how do you know what things will really make a difference? In the lives of the individual, a community, or even a city? What interventions will have the highest impact? Where are the biggest disparities, and how are those impacting the population?

These are all questions that need to be answered, and there is an emerging group of vendors that look to answer these questions and more. They focus on providing analytics around SDOH so you can understand the answers to those questions. We are calling this Social Determinants Informatics.

Our recently published Algorex Health and Carrot Health eTech Spotlights give a first look into how these vendors are improving healthcare through Social Determinants Informatics.

See a Need, Fill a Need

Both Algorex Health and Carrot Health have similar stories as to why they began to work in the SDOH market. At their core, these Social Determinants Informatics vendors know that healthcare can be better, and they’re doing their best to be that change.

For Carrot Health, founded in 2014 by serial entrepreneur Kurt Waltenbaugh, the observation of healthcare in America worsening despite the ever-climbing societal costs is what got them into the SDOH market. Waltenbaugh decided that his company could be the one to swim upstream of traditional healthcare to identify the barriers that prevent customers from living their healthiest life.

Algorex Health is a couple years newer in the space, founded in 2017 by individuals who all came from other healthcare companies. Their story makes sense; at their previous places of employment, they saw the need to have insights around the growing SDOH networks. Jacob Luria, CEO at Algorex Health, knew the company’s low-code, top-tier data science approach was perfect for the SDOH problems that organizations face.

Analyzing the Network 

There is an important distinction to make between Algorex Health or Carrot Health and other Social Determinants Informatics vendors. 

KLAS has done eTech Spotlights on a number of other vendors—Aunt Bertha, Healthify, NowPow, Signify Health Community, and Unite Us—who are more focused on setting up the actual SDOH networks and connecting the clinical side to the social services side.

Algorex Health and Carrot Health focus on analyzing your network and helping you better understand your population rather than setting up the network itself.

More specifically, Algorex Health combines the clinical and claims data on the healthcare side and puts that together with the demographic and consumer data. This process gives insight into the social needs and the social demographic profiles of our patient population. And then they can design interventions to address SDOH for the patients of the provider.

Carrot Health identifies social risk factors and then calculates a score with their Social Risk Grouper. They then deliver those insights and explain to you why the insights are the way they are based on the data. In an extreme example, if a patient is homeless, has no food, and has no way to get to appointments, then you’d have to address those social needs first.

Hype vs. Reality

Especially over the past decade with the widespread adoption of electronic health records, the healthcare industry has amassed more data than we currently know how to use. The reality is SDOH networks add an entire other set of data to our already stifling amount of information.

What makes Algorex Health and Carrot Health so valuable right now is that they help providers understand how to use all of the SDOH data that they have. On top of that, both vendors have high customer satisfaction ratings, which means their customers are seeing real outcomes.

That being said, training was an area that needed to be improved for both vendors. Many Carrot Health customers appreciated all the functionality Carrot Health provides but frequently brought up that they would like to know how to utilize it better. Similarly, Algorex Health provides certain tools to their customers that have been reported to be a bit confusing to use.

Unexpected Outcomes

In our research for these Spotlight reports, customers of Algorex Health and Carrot Health shared unexpected outcomes from working with these vendors when the vendors went above and beyond in exceeding the customers’ expectations.

When Algorex Health would meet with providers to share the insights from their analyses, the Algorex Health team would also leverage their healthcare expertise to help create action plans around targeted demographics and go over how those plans could be implemented.

Carrot Health realized at the beginning of the pandemic that they could help providers by getting a lot of data around potential COVID-19 infection areas. Carrot Health was there for their customers when they needed them most. Providers found the insights from this COVID-19-specific data to be very helpful.

SDOH Vendor Growth

There's a lot to be said about the need for Social Determinants Informatics. I think we'll see vendors like Algorex Health and Carrot Health continue to grow and be more involved with the health systems. It will be interesting to watch how these vendors will maintain customer satisfaction as they scale their services. 

To learn more about the specific findings on each of these SDOH vendors, read our full Algorex Health eTech Spotlight and Carrot Health eTech Spotlight. Stay tuned—more eTech Spotlights to come.