Translating Social Determinants of Health into Standardized Clinical Entities.
Social determinants of health (SDH) are a valuable source of health information which still are not fully utilized in the clinical space. Knowing that a certain patient has trouble finding transportation, has a potentially hazardous relationship with a family member or close relative, is currently unemployed, or various other social factors would allow providers to tailor treatment plans in a way to best help that patient. However, these SDH must be gathered, represented, and stored in a standardized way before they can be leveraged by informatics tools designed for health providers. This process of translating SDH to standardized clinical entities includes two main steps. The first is a collaborative effort to establish an ontology of medical terminology codes (i.e., ICD, SNOMED, LOINC, etc.) which can be used to uniformly represent SDH as coded concepts. The second is a collaborative effort to use the FHIR standard to create profiles and extensions which will allow FHIR resources to be used to store the coded SDH as clinical entities. Each of these steps has their own complexities that must be considered and accounted for in future efforts to create interoperable clinical informatics solutions which utilize SDH.
Studies in health technology and informatics. 2020 Jun;270():474-478.
Authors: Michael Watkins, Benjamin Viernes, Viet Nguyen, Leonardo Rojas Mezarina, Javier Silva Valencia, Damian Borbolla