Better data-sharing infrastructure is necessary to address social determinants of health, report finds

Andrea Park - Print  | 

Though stakeholders across healthcare largely agree on the importance of addressing nonmedical social needs as part of patients' healthcare regimens, many are still unclear on how, exactly, to do so.

A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine offers some guidance on the topic. Titled "Integrating Social Care into the Delivery of Healthcare," the report recommends four steps that healthcare providers, government agencies and more can do to better address social determinants of health.

The recommendations include improved integration of social care into healthcare delivery; increased support for an engaged, integrated care workforce; and a boost in CMS financing to integrate health and social care. The report also recommends the development of an infrastructure for more efficient data sharing between health and social care.

To achieve the latter, not only should the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology work alongside states to design an effective data-sharing structure for care coordination, but the Federal Health Information Technology Coordinating Committee should also take steps to facilitate this data-sharing across healthcare, housing, education and other involved sectors. Finally, the Department of Health and Human Services must share with the private sector guidance regarding the privacy and security of personally identifiable data, according to the report.

View the full report here.

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