Social Cascade was founded by researchers, and it is at the heart of what we do. We take great pride in the fact that our product is intentional and evidenced-based. Please explore the theoretical framework behind our prominent features.
Social media as an effective communication channel for healthcare
Used by the majority of US adults regardless of socioeconomic status, social media is praised by health researchers for being a fast and equitable channel of communication, supporting multiple media formats, and prolific even among the hardest-to-reach populations. This is especially true among the next generation as the majority are taking to the internet to make healthcare decisions and research potential providers. Social platforms proved extremely useful during the COVID-19 pandemic when such channels rose as the primary source of information for people around the world. The prevalence of social media usage and, consequently, its influence on Americans' sentiments and behaviors means “understanding a community’s social networks is essential because of their potential to affect population health” (p.153).
Furthermore, US adults tend to have 25 apps on their smartphones, yet we only use about five on a daily basis. Social media is almost always one of those five. Social Cascade differentiates itself from other patient education tools by putting information on the platforms Americans are already using. Instead of asking people to remember another username/password or rely on them to open another app, we allow providers to meet their patients on social media.
Health literacy in the US
Low levels of health literacy cost US employers approximately $5B annually. Navigating complex healthcare systems, knowing when and where to seek care, and finding preventative services and resources all require a great deal of health literacy. Additionally, individuals with lower levels of health literacy are less likely to consult online health publications to supplement advice delivered in the exam room. Social Cascade works within the constraints of health literacy by delivering awareness and intervention materials through arguably the most accessible and prolific digital communication channels. By leaning on a network of leading organizations, patients are not left to filter the internet on their own.
Reinforcing information throughout the year
The average well-visit lasts approximately 15 minutes–hardly enough time to adequately communicate information to patients. Even when conversations are had, patients often forget what was said, cultural and/or language barriers stand in the way, or the child demands the caregiver to split attention. Social Cascade provides the tools and resources necessary for healthcare providers to reinforce messaging between office encounters using educational materials tailored for their specific patient panel.
Building medical trust
It is well documented that patient-provider trust is especially lacking among racial/ethnic minority communities where historical events, systematic factors, and provider cultural misalignment occlude trust in the healthcare system. Unfortunately, mistrust among minority communities widens social disparities and healthcare costs as levels of trust are associated with well visit compliance, use of preventative services, and other health outcomes across social determinants of health. Research demonstrates consistent, clear, patient-centered communication has been shown to increase patient-provider trust and health-promoting behaviors especially among racial/ethnic minority patients. While progress can be made through provider professional development and training for in-person visits, it is difficult to drive marked change in 15-minute increments–the average time of an annual well visit. Therefore, Social Cascade works to infuse consistent, patient-centered communication throughout the year between office visits.
Power of community: Medical trust, behavioral change, and community health organizations
Community health workers (CHW), entities integrated within a patient community serving as a culturally-centered liaison between the clinic and the community, tend to receive higher levels of trust, especially among minority communities, for their relatability and empathetic approach to health education. Consequently, many see CHWs as a strategy for cost savings through prevention and awareness. However, reach is often limited and fragmented with little to no collaboration between HCPs and the CHWs in their communities. Social Cascade works as a bridge between CHWs and the medical home. We do not reinvent the wheel by creating content. Instead, we pull content from voices trained to effectively communicate across a variety of topics and those providing services and resources within the community.
Combating misinformation: The role of the medical home
Following the onslaught of medical misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic, the US Surgeon General issued a warning and call to action. In this statement, the Surgeon General asked medical professionals to show up on social media with credible, trustworthy information. Although social media has proven to be a beneficial tool in healthcare, healthcare professionals simply do not have the time to maintain an active social media presence. Social Cascade removes the barrier of time. In a few simple clicks, providers can now actively support their patients on social media throughout the year–with little to no effort.