Health IT and Social Determinants of Health

In a recent post on the Allscripts Blog, Leigh Burchell, Chair of the EHRA Public Policy Leadership Workgroup and EHRA Opioid Task Force, shared her perspective on policy issues surrounding social determinants of health. She notes that, “it is generally accepted that there is a correlation between social determinants of health and patient outcomes.”

As the use of EHRs and other health IT had become more widespread, she writes, “data related to social determinants of health (SDoH) have been increasingly captured and available to clinicians. In particular, the Meaningful Use incentives, the MACRA-responsive requirements and the CPC programs have – as a byproduct – helped expand the volume and types of non-medical determinative information on file about patients.”

We’re a long way from agreement on standards to capture and exchange data in a way that will benefit public health research and patients. As HHS and other stakeholders continue to evaluate how to gather and utilize SDoH data while avoiding inadvertent consequences, Burchell acknowledges that “there is much more to be done to bring comprehensive social determinant data into the provider’s EHR workflow in a user-friendly, trusted and actionable fashion. And it is clear that it may be some time until policies from regulators and payers settle into any type of consistent framework.”

Read her full blog post here


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