[Blog Post] HHS Updates Interoperability Standards to Support the Electronic Exchange of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Social Determinants of Health

2 years 9 months ago

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released this past July the United States Core Data for Interoperability version 2 (USCDI v2), a standardized set of health data classes and constituent data elements for nationwide, interoperable health information exchange.

The ONC hopes that this update will “have clearer direction toward the standardized, electronic exchange of social determinants of health (SDOH), sexual orientation, and gender identity (SO/GI) among several other updated data elements”. They describe the update as laying “the foundation for the provider community to start systemizing the capture and use of SDOH and SO/GI data in the clinical setting”.

Micky Tripathi, PhD, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology said that USCDI version 2 “builds on the feedback we received from a wide variety of stakeholders.  We heard that this new version of the USCDI should reflect America's diversity and include data elements like sexual orientation, gender identity, and social determinants of health while helping to address disparities in health outcomes for minoritized, marginalized, and underrepresented individuals and communities."

How IHE USA Supports Improved Use of Social Determinants of Health Data

As SDOH data continues to grow in its importance to clinical decision making, IHE USA has worked to share best practices for developers interested in leveraging these data within their data ecosystem.

The Gravity Project, a national public collaborative and HL7 FHIR Accelerator, was launched in spring of 2019 to develop individual-level data standards to represent the capture and exchange of social determinants of health information in health and human services electronic systems. The work is focused both on the semantic representation of the data via nationally recognized vocabulary/terminology standards (i.e., LOINC, SNOMED-CT, ICD-10), and the structural exchange of the information using HL7 FHIR based open APIs as defined in the HL7 SDOH FHIR Implementation Guide.

At the 2021 IHE North American Connectathon, Gravity Project leader Evelyn Gallego, MBA, MPH, CPHIMS provided an update about the work the Gravity Project is doing to create and maintain a consensus-building community to expand available SDOH core data for interoperability and accelerate standards-based information exchange by using HL7® FHIR®.

[VIDEO] IHE Deep Dive: The Gravity Project: Consensus-Driven Standards on Social Determinants of Health 

Also at the 2021 IHE North American Connectathon, the developers of the 360x IHE integration profile provided an overview of how the profile enables providers—using existing health data exchange standards and technologies—to exchange:

  • Referral requests containing relevant patient clinical information
  • Result of referral containing relevant patient clinical information

[VIDEO] Spectrum of Care Continuity Using 360x

Support Integrating SDOH Data into Patients’ Electronic Medical Records

IHE USA continues to work to support the integration of SDOH data into the clinical record.  Learn more about how you can get involved with that work by contacting Sarah Bell, IHE Secretariat, at sarah.bell@himss.org.


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