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Cerner EHR Integration Leverages Health IT to Identify SDOH Factors

Cerner’s newest EHR integration uses health IT to pinpoint social determinants of health risk factors and suggest provider intervention opportunities.

Cerner has announced a new EHR integration, Cerner Determinants of Health, that leverages health IT to identify social determinants of health that contribute to health disparities.

Identifying social determinants of health (SDOH) such as housing instability, food insecurity, transportation barriers, and unemployment can help fill gaps in patients’ health and social care.

The Cerner Determinants of Health dashboard and supporting set of tools aim to help clinicians pinpoint these social services gaps. The health IT solution also suggests goals and resources within the patient’s care plan to target opportunities for intervention.

“Remarkably, studies show that non-clinical factors can impact as much as 80 percent of a person's overall health,” Kevin Seabaugh, vice president & Health Network general manager at Cerner said in a public statement.

“Since our announcement at Cerner Health Conference last year, we’ve worked to help clinicians, care managers and leaders understand and address social risk factors across patients and communities,” he continued. “We are energized to hear from clients who are embracing our innovative solutions to help remediate this 80/20 imbalance and further advance health equity efforts.”

The EHR integration can also identify community-level vulnerabilities that may inform a patient’s social and care needs. The health IT’s dashboard combines geospatial data, patient clinician insights, and public data to provide a view of the conditions in which people live. This is set to give care organizations the data they need to provide targeted community outreach programming.

Cerner client Northern Light Health is using the crucial insights to provide help better care at the intersection of a patient’s health and social care needs.

“Addressing health equity and access to care issues is a critical need for us,” April Giard, DNP, MSN, NP-BC, NEA-BC, vice president and chief information officer of Northern Light Health, said in the Cerner press release. “We can’t truly provide patient-centered, comprehensive care without understanding social risk factors our patients are experiencing.”

“Through use of screening tools and the determinants of health dashboard, care managers are able to engage and build a trusting relationship with patients to identify and intervene on their social needs,” Giard noted. “We plan on leveraging the dashboard to pinpoint and prioritize areas of vulnerability and create plans to address social barriers for better health across our service lines.”

Additionally, clinical artificial intelligence (AI) vendor, Jvion, has partnered with Cerner to integrate its AI-powered SDOH and behavioral health insights into Cerner products and platforms. This relationship is set to boost Cerner clients’ ability to identify and address social risk factors while offering context and clinical decision support for improved health outcomes.

Cerner recently partnered with Apple on a new feature that aims to promote patient empowerment by allowing patients to share personal health data with their families and providers. This connection is also expected to improve health outcomes by giving providers more of an in-depth look into a patient’s lifestyle outside of the office.

Apple’s iOS 15 operating system, set to hit the market this fall, allows iPhone and Apple Watch users to track metrics like heart rate, sleep, and steps. Patients can then elect to share certain personal health data with healthcare providers or family members.

“Upon availability, Cerner participating US healthcare provider clients can enable patients to share health data in a secure and private way to drive more informed, meaningful conversations with their clinicians,” Cerner wrote in an email to EHRIntelligence at the time of the announcement.

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