Appl Clin Inform 2024; 15(03): 456-459
DOI: 10.1055/a-2312-8621
Letter to the Editor

A Framework for Social Needs-Based Medical Biodesign Innovation

Ada Metaxas
1   Department of Chemistry, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, United States
Sara Hantgan
2   University of Michigan School of Information, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
Katherine W. Wang
3   Trinity College of Arts and Sciences, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, United States
Jiya Desai
4   The Pingry School, Basking Ridge, New Jersey, United States
Sarah Zwerling
5   Roslyn High School, Roslyn Heights, New York, United States
Sunit P. Jariwala
6   Division of Allergy/Immunology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York, United States
› Author Affiliations
Funding None.

Social determinants of health (SDoH) are structural factors that influence health outcomes and contribute to health disparities.[1] These factors include: economic stability, education quality, health care quality, built environment, and community context.[1] Estimates suggest that nearly 60% of preventable deaths are caused by modifiable SDoH.[2] Adverse health outcomes caused by unmet SDoH needs are particularly exacerbated in marginalized communities. For example, chronic conditions, such as asthma and diabetes, disproportionately impact communities of color and low socioeconomic status.[3] Clinical factors are estimated to affect only 20% of the variation in health outcomes across the United States, whereas SDoH contribute to 50%.[4] Consequently, addressing unmet SDoH needs is important for addressing health care disparities.

To improve health disparities, priority should be placed on developing evidence-based interventions through social needs-based innovation.[5] User-centered design innovation involves iterative feedback cycles for developing technologies focused on equity, accessibility, and feasibility for the target audience.[6] This paper focuses on developing a framework for social needs-based medical innovation to address health disparities. We describe the implementation of this framework using a case example involving ASTHMAXcel, a mobile health application which provides interactive resources for improving asthma knowledge in patients from the Bronx, New York City, United States, a borough with a large urban minority population.

Protection of Human and Animal Subjects

This study was performed in compliance with the World Medial Association Declaration of Helsinki on Ethical Principles for Medical Research Involving Human Subjects and was reviewed by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine Institutional Review Board.

Publication History

Received: 31 October 2023

Accepted: 23 April 2024

Accepted Manuscript online:
24 April 2024

Article published online:
12 June 2024

© 2024. Thieme. All rights reserved.

Georg Thieme Verlag KG
Rüdigerstraße 14, 70469 Stuttgart, Germany

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