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CA HIE Forms Health IT Partnership to Boost SDOH Data Interoperability

A California health information exchange has implemented a health IT solution set to boost SDOH data interoperability.

North Coast Health Improvement and Information Network (NCHIIN), a California non-profit health information exchange (HIE), has announced a new health IT partnership that aims to boost SDOH data interoperability.

NCHIIN partnered with health IT vendor QS Systems to implement its community information exchange (CIE) platform, NinePatch, across Humboldt County.

“Our partnership with QS Systems and implementation of NinePatch will allow us to execute on our CIE vision,” Martin Love, NCHIIN CEO, said in a public statement.

“It is a constant challenge for Humboldt County community members to find the services they need to keep themselves and their families healthy,” Love continued. “There are many complicated systems to navigate through to have easy and proper access to services.”

NCHIIN sought a health IT solution that would provide coordinated information sharing and closed-loop referral processes across medical, behavioral, and social health domains to boost patient-centered care delivery.

The team-based care coordination platform helps HIEs connect fragmented data sectors through a variety of interoperability tools.

“We went through a comprehensive evaluation of the established solutions in the market and were impressed with the rich set of functionality NinePatch provides to help solve a very challenging problem,” Love explained. “It checked all the boxes for us.”

SDOH data interoperability is key in the pursuit of health equity, according to a new post from ONC’s Health IT Buzz blog written by Jawanna Henry and Samantha Meklir.

Henry and Meklir noted that SDOH are environmental, social, and economic conditions that affect health and quality-of-life outcomes.

“Addressing inequities in these conditions, driven in large part due to the root causes of poverty and racism, can be supported in part through the collection, documentation, reporting, access and use of social determinants of health data,” Henry and Meklier explained.

“This data can be used to help identify and eliminate health disparities and to improve health outcomes at an individual and population level,” they continued.

ONC is currently focusing on care delivery innovation using health IT standards and tools for the integration of SDOH data into clinical workflows.

For instance, ONC is exploring electronic data tagging capabilities, as well as clinical guidelines that use social determinants of health data for clinical decision support.

The agency is also exploring ways to exchange health data more accurately and equitably, especially in disadvantaged communities.

Henry and Meklier said that ONC’s approach to data exchange will shine a light on the use of social and health data, such as the adoption of standards focused on social determinants of health.

Additionally, they predicted ONC’s work will aid the spread of health IT best practices and tools to support community infrastructure.

“Advancing the use and interoperability of social determinants of health data is important to improve the health and well-being of all individuals and communities,” Henry and Meklier concluded.

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