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Health insurers are leaning more heavily on machine learning to predict which patients will miss out on care because they can’t get a ride to an appointment or reliable internet to sign onto a video visit. But with those new technologies come concerns that lack of standards or checks on their use could propagate biases in health care, leaving some of the neediest patients behind. 

Technology, payers say, helps them flag at-risk members faster and rapidly connect those in need with community services, staving off costlier long-term complications. Taken in aggregate, these predictions could give payers a window into community-level needs. Predictive models, which vary widely by payer, often draw on claims, public records, census data, and other data sources to flag the members most likely to lack transportation, nutritious food, stable internet, and other factors known as the “social determinants of health.” 

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