New guide from ONC set to enhance standards of interoperability for SDOH

by | Oct 31, 2022

The Office of Nationwide Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) has established a national Gravity Project Pilots Affinity Group in efforts to advance SDOH interoperability and standards, this new group will test the SDOH Clinical Care FHIR Implementation Guide (SDOH CC IG). The group has been implemented in collaboration with Health Level Seven International (HL7) and other influential figures in the healthcare industry.

About the new group

Regarding the engagement in the testing of technical standards, in addition to specific terminology, the Gravity Pilots Affinity Workgroup serves as a venue for peer-to-peer learning. To facilitate the execution of more ambitious projects, each participating pilot is introduced on a modest scale. The goal of the implementation guide is to specify how SDOH data will be exchanged using the FHIR standard for fast healthcare interoperability. Health inequities, which are largely caused by underlying issues like racism and poverty, can be lessened, according to the ONC, through secure data collection, documentation, reporting, access, and use across provider types. The SDOH standards will represent the coded content that is used to support primary care activities like screening, clinical assessment/diagnosis, goal setting, and the designing and executing of interventions. Health disparities, which are mostly caused by underlying issues like racism and poverty, can be mitigated, according to the ONC, through efforts including safe data collection, documentation, reporting, access, and utilization across provider types. The SDOH standards will reflect the coded information that is utilized to support primary care tasks including screening, clinical assessment/diagnosis, goal setting, and the designing and executing of interventions. The ONC has stated that these affinity group and implementation guide activities should enhance the availability, sharing, and application of SDOH standards through the following:

  • speeding up the transition to FHIR API standards-based data exchange for SDOH
  • piloting the SDOH Clinical Care FHIR Implementation Guide to get practical knowledge; and
  • supplying direct assistance to community-based organizations so they can join clinical partners in the pilot.

This coming following, a recent publishment by the ONC, detailing updated USCDI interoperability standards to aid the worldwide interchange of sexual orientation, gender identity, and SDOH data in the healthcare industry. Healthcare providers will be better able to serve the needs of marginalized communities by fostering interoperability of these data.

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