ONC releases framework for advancing social determinants of health for data use, interoperability

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The Office of the National Coordinator is prioritizing addressing inequalities that have been long driven by poverty and racism. Through documenting, reporting, accessing and using social determinants of health, the ONC expects to help eliminate health disparities and improve health outcomes at an individual and nationwide level.

The ONC is releasing a framework to launch these initiatives nationwide, according to a June 17 news release.

Here are four areas the ONC said health IT can assist in achieving these goals:

  1. Creating standards with data: Guiding the development and adoption of health IT data standards.

  2. Updating infrastructure: Supporting governments as they update their infrastructure to support social determinants of health data.

  3. Developing policies: Implementing policies to assist with interoperability challenges and to guide data use.

  4. Driving implementation: Directing innovative care by utilizing health IT tools and integrating standards to work social determinants of health data into workflows.

The ONC is working on several projects to assist in these four areas, such as electronic tagging capabilities for EHRs and developing a toolkit to help stakeholders with the rollout of these initiatives.

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