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Friday Five: Technology may help care for the elderly population, but it can’t replace humans

In this week’s Friday Five, MAXIMUS is reading about the need for quantitative data to evaluate social determinants of health, how federal agencies can help their workforce prepare for technological changes, smart technology that can assist the elderly, the slowdown of Medicaid work requirements, and food insecurity in America.

1. Building the evidence base to quantify, communicate the ROI of SDOH initiatives

There is growing sentiment that social determinants of health (SDOH) should be addressed by the healthcare system, but the impact and results of interventions aren’t necessarily being measured. In this article, AJMC recaps a recent World Health Care Congress panel that discussed the importance of data collection, having the appropriate quality measures, conducting trials, and more to help build the SDOH evidence base.

2. GAO report highlights on tech impact on workforce

This week, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report discussing the anticipated impact of emerging technologies on the federal workforce. MeriTalk reports the GAO recommends agencies encourage employees to re-skill, improve their digital literacy, and be flexible as requirements change. Managers should aim to better assess employee skills and develop diverse talent.

3. Can smart tech help solve the aging population problem?

The elderly population has been and is predicted to continue increasing in size over time. IoT explores whether technology can help care for the aging population. New smart tech may help allow seniors to remain in their own homes longer, but human caregivers are still essential, as “the human side of caring is much harder to replace.” Ideally, technology will help make the role of caregiver easier and more efficient, letting caregivers focus more on the patients’ emotional needs.

4. Medicaid work requirements hit roadblocks

In 2018, after the Trump administration expressed approval, many states moved toward implementing Medicaid work requirements. But as this stateline blog post from Pew Charitable Trusts reports, the momentum has changed. Lawsuits have challenged the legality of work requirements and the make-up of state legislatures has changed, causing many states to slow down, narrow the scope of, or decide against adding additional Medicaid work requirements.

5. 40 million Americans struggle to put food on the table

According to CBS News, nearly 1 in 8 Americans (approximately 40 million people) experience food insecurity. The issue is nationwide, with every county in every state reporting people who struggle to afford food, although more pronounced among children, in rural areas, and in the South. A recent study found that average SNAP benefits don’t cover the cost of a meal, and millions who make too much to qualify for SNAP also struggle.