Social and health information platform: piloting a standards-based, digital platform linking social determinants of health data into clinical workflows for community-wide use
Appl Clin Inform
BACKGROUND: Social determinants of health (SDoH) a are increasingly recognized as a main contributor to clinical health outcomes, but the technologies and workflows within clinics make it difficult for health care providers to address SDoH needs during routine clinical visits. OBJECTIVES: Our objectives were to pilot a digital platform that matches, links, and visualizes patient-level information and community-level deidentified data from across sectors; establish a technical infrastructure that is scalable, generalizable, and interoperable with new datasets or technologies; employ user-centered codesign principles to refine the platform's visualizations, dashboards, and alerts with community health workers, clinicians, and clinic administrators. METHODS: We used privacy-preserving record linkage (PPRL) tools to ensure that all identifiable patient data were encrypted, only matched and displayed with consent, and never accessed or stored by the data intermediary. We used limited data sets (LDS) to share nonidentifiable patient data with the data intermediary through a health information exchange (HIE) to take advantage of existing partner agreements, technical infrastructure, and community clinical data. RESULTS: The platform was successfully piloted in two Federally Qualified Health Clinics by 26 clinic staff. SDoH and demographic data from findhelp were successfully linked, matched, and displayed with clinical and demographic data from the HIE, Connxus. Pilot users tested the platform using real-patient data, guiding the refinement of the social and health information platform's visualizations and alerts. Users emphasized the importance of visuals and alerts that gave quick insights into individual patient SDoH needs, survey responses, and clinic-level trends in SDoH service referrals. CONCLUSION: This pilot shows the importance of PPRL, LDS, and HIE-based data intermediaries in sharing data across sectors and service providers for scalable patient-level care coordination and community-level insights. Clinic staff are integral in designing, developing, and adopting health technologies that will enhance their ability to address SDoH needs within existing workflows without adding undue burdens or additional stress.
Khurshid A, Hautala M, Oliveira E, et al. Social and health information platform: piloting a standards-based, digital platform linking social determinants of health data into clinical workflows for community-wide use. Appl Clin Inform. 2023;14(5):883-892. DOI:10.1055/s-0043-1774819. PMID: 37940130