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Monthly Healthcare Buzz…


Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) algorithms are being developed by Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and the Regenstrief Institute to predict the need for patient SDOH service referrals.


Following the Parkland Florida high school shooting, Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services, expresses support for gun violence research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


The Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) outlines its 4 policy priorities for 2018. Among them are addressing potential budget cuts to AHRQ, educating HHS secretary Alex Azar, interoperability call to action, and a continued focus on cybersecurity.


New drugs are being developed in the wake of this years deadly flu season. They will not come in time for this flu season, but could be available in the U.S. next winter.


To cut drug prices, states look to advance a bill allowing drugs to be imported from Canada. The practice, pursued before, is currently illegal, but states, including Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Oklahoma, are pushing the federal government to revisit this option.

Does Your Zip Code Affect Your Health?


Healthy habits lead to a healthy life, but how is our life affected by factors outside of our control? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “your zip code can be more important than your genetic code.”(1) In Philadelphia, two babies born just 5 miles apart face up to a 20-year difference in life expectancy.(2) We don’t control where we are born but, as a community, we can counteract and prevent known healthcare inequities based on circumstances. An individual’s health is affected by several factors beyond the clinical measures, including neighborhood and built area, economic stability, education, and social and community context.(3) Together these factors make up Social Determinants of Health: the conditions in which we grow, learn, work, and play.


Take Tracy for example. Tracy is a 34-year-old woman from rural Kentucky. She is a high school dropout working at the diner walking distance from her home. She has not seen her primary care physician for over 3 years and is morbidly obese. Living in a food desert, with no nutritional, fresh, and healthy food, and without access to her primary care physician, how can Tracy successfully manage her obesity and other risk factors? Clinical care affects only 20% of health(1) according to the CDC. Limited or no access to a grocery store, stable housing, education, a safe place to exercise, air quality, etc. play an active role in a person’s health.


1. Invest in Your Community [PDF file]. (2015 March). Retrieved from 
2. Mapping Life Expectancy: Philadelphia. (2016, April 6). Retrieved from
3. Social Determinants of Health. (n.d.). Retrieved from