ONC Pilots Guide to Further SDOH Interoperability, Standards

The affinity group will define the exchange of SDOH data using the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standard to support SDOH interoperability supported by ONC USCDI version 2.

The Office of National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) recently launched a national Gravity Project Pilots Affinity Group through a partnership with Health Level Seven International (HL7) and other industry leaders. This new group will pilot the SDOH Clinical Care FHIR Implementation Guide (SDOH CC IG) to further SDOH interoperability and standards.

The Gravity Pilots Affinity Workgroup is a peer-to-peer learning forum for participating in the testing of terminology and technical standards from the Gravity Project. Every participating pilot is introduced on a small scale to support the implementation of more large-scale projects.

The implementation guide aims to define the exchange of SDOH data using the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standard.

ONC said health inequities, which are largely driven by root causes such as poverty and racism, can be reduced through secure data collection, documentation, reporting, access, and use of data across provider types.

The SDOH standards will represent coded content used to support primary care activities, including screening, clinical assessment/diagnosis, goal setting, and the planning and performing of interventions.

ONC said it expects these affinity group and implementation guide activities to improve the access, exchange, and use of SDOH standards by:

  • Accelerating the shift to FHIR API standards-based exchange of data elements that support SDOH
  • Gaining real-world experience by piloting the SDOH Clinical Care FHIR Implementation Guide; and
  • Providing direct support to community-based organizations to participate in the pilot alongside clinical partners

“Our combined efforts are expected to demonstrate how best to advance our nation’s technical infrastructure to enable SDOH interoperability as supported by ONC’s United States Core Data for Interoperability (USCDI) Version 2,” ONC officials Ryan Argentieri, Samantha Meklir, and Jawanna Henry, wrote in a HealthITBuzz blog post.

Recently, ONC released the updated USCDI interoperability standards to support the nationwide exchange of sexual orientation, gender identity, and SDOH data. Promoting interoperability of these data will help healthcare professionals meet the needs of marginalized communities.

“The USCDI standard consists of a core set of data classes and elements for nationwide, interoperable health information exchange and includes data elements captured in clinical and health settings to help identify and to address conditions that put a person’s health and well-being at risk,” stated Argentieri, Meklir, and Henry.

Building established standards in real-time and screening practices will identify specific food, housing, and transportation insecurity needs. These advancements are an important step in enabling care coordination, timely care access, and care interventions

ONC said the new Pilots Affinity Group is an opportunity open to all stakeholders drawn to utilizing the soon-to-be-balloted Implementation Guide to deliver more equitable care.

Eligible pilot participants will use the various FHIR resources that have already been made available but are not limited to the SDOH data elements in the USCDI (SDOH Assessment, SDOH Problems/Health Concerns, SDOH Goals, and SDOH Interventions).

Next Steps

Dig Deeper on Interoperability in healthcare

Cloud Computing
Mobile Computing