The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) has released the results from its 2020 social determinants of health (SDoH) survey.

The survey, administered in June 2020, sampled 17,900 health information professionals to capture SDoH data and which social risk categories they prioritize for collection.

The collection, sharing, and use of SDoH data can result in a number of benefits, according to AHIMA, including improved acute and chronic disease prevention, treatment, and health promotion; increased point-of-care data exchange between clinical and social services providers; better population health management and care coordination; enhanced targeting and allocation of resources; faster and more targeted responses to disease outbreaks and pandemics; and strengthened research on interventions to mitigate health impacts.

Through the 2020 SDoH survey, AHIMA found that 56 percent of organizations collect SDoH data. As for challenges in collecting SDoH data, survey respondents reported difficulty with a lack of organizational policy around data collection (55 percent), a lack of discrete electronic health record fields/functionality (50 percent), coding productivity (27 percent), and a lack of financial incentives (22 percent).

Other key survey findings include:

  • Most organizations (73 percent) reported not having a governance committee that oversees the collection and use of SDoH data.
  • Roles within an organization that collect and use SDoH data include coding professionals (68 percent), case management (48 percent), clinicians (47 percent), and registration/patient financial services (37 percent).
  • The most common coding/classification/terminology systems used to collect SDoH data were ICD-10-CM (90 percent) and CPT (22 percent).
  • Most organizations (72 percent) prioritized the collection of housing insecurity (72 percent). Other social risk categories prioritized for collection included social connection and isolation (62 percent), economic stability (60 percent), transportation (55 percent), and education (32 percent).
  • Eighty-three percent of the respondents reported their EHR technology does not include alerts or triggers to notify clinicians that SDoH documentation was captured.