What’s the code?

The social determinants of health (SDOH) have been debated for more than half a century. But it is only recently that healthcare professionals have taken the time to understand these factors and the data associated with them. According to expert estimates, healthcare accounts for only 20% of a person’s health outcomes. However, social and behavioral determinants are responsible for most of the factors that influence the improvement of health outcomes. The fate of standardizing the collection and sharing of health data could transform the health and care models of global communities.

Data request

As the US health care system includes values-based care and emphasizes the health of the population, the use of SDOH data is increasing. “The digitization of healthcare has improved the use of structured and encrypted data,” said Matt Menning, director of the American Medical Association. A flexible set of common SDOH data elements is required to meet today’s information needs. A long-awaited development of IT and healthcare models is imminent.

“We are increasing the value of medical information available to physicians. Our mission is to promote equity in nursing and represent our voice in the medical home, “says Dr. Tom Giannulli, leader of the Integrated Health Models Initiative (IHMI), an AMA initiative to enhance value of health information available to physicians. In other words, its goal is to adapt to the waves of technological advancement in the healthcare sector and include SDOH in the conversation about data standards. It is the same passion that not only the AMA but efforts such as Health Level Seven International (HL7) and the Gravity Project are leveraging to improve the collection and presentation of SDOH, all of which is based on broader use of health data, thereby promoting relevant standards.

“The possibility of improving the health of the population with ODS affects not only international care but also home care,” adds Giannulli. Consensus-based steps exist between IHMI and other organizations to create free global standards for encoding and exchanging data. View? Improved collection and use of SDOH data in existing healthcare IT infrastructures. “Clinically clear and consistent definitions of SDOH will support next-generation systems for population health management and value-based care.

Codes Up Close

In addition to the acquisition, SDOH data normalization can take place. Realistically, code sets that can already be implemented in existing workflows are the first step, according to Giannulli. “Most of today’s encrypted SDOH data exchange involves high payers and relies on complaints and administrative infrastructure,” he says. The current workflows will be prioritized in the activities planned by WADA for this year.

Given the encouragement of practical use and adoption of standards, these standards can and should be implemented and used in conjunction with the existing healthcare IT infrastructure. Giannulli adds that it is important to select, refine, and expand the ICD-10 SDOH terms based on actual demand and usage. When ICD-10 codes for SDOH become widespread, provider organizations will be able to better monitor patient needs and identify solutions to improve the health of their communities.

Just as CDI requires a change in terminology, CPT will require better coding rules for documenting SDOH ratings in patient assessment and management. It highlights the value of collaboration between industry partners, said Matt Menning, director of engagement at IHMI. “We can improve awareness as well as the current use of SDOH,” he said. WADA’s partnerships with SNOMED International, HL7, and other members of the global health community are already driving the development of open standards for SDOH data collection to enable better documentation to improve performance, outcomes, and management.

Lasting Impact

The expansion of SDOH to current code sets offers great potential for changing real-world problems. New Open Access and Open SDOH data standards will improve the semantic value and interoperability of health data. As Giannulli and Menning point out, WADA is exploring the future state of interoperability in healthcare and the role that better data portability and liquidity standards will play in facilitating advances in healthcare delivery, smarter analytics, and applications.Organizations wishing to assist WADA in this effort can take a number of approaches, such as B. learning the practical use of SDOH, improving consistent runtime acquisition, or participating in consensus communities to advance standardization proposals.