eHealth Initiative (eHI) Foundation recently released “Guiding Principles for the Ethical Use of Social Determinants of Health Data.” These Guiding Principles were developed as part of a cross-industry collaborative with over 50 public and private healthcare stakeholders such as LexisNexis Risk Solutions, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, Johnson & Johnson, and Mayo Clinic. The result of several months of discussions and in-person meetings, the document focuses on educating and guiding industry and policymakers on the value of leveraging social determinants of health (SDOH) data for maximum good in healthcare.
“Because of the sensitive nature of this consumer data, we felt it was critical to put a stake in the ground around the ethical use of this data,” Jennifer Covich Bordenick, chief executive officer of eHealth Initiative & Foundation said in the press release. “Lots of industry groups are publishing papers and producing research, but there is not a lot of direction about how to use this data. eHI’s diverse coalition of healthcare leaders believes there is a way to do this that improves health, protects consumers and promotes transparency.”
“As an industry, we realize that improving the health of our communities and providing the right care plans depends on our ability to understand patients as people first—treating the person and addressing barriers to health, not just the disease,” stated Josh Schoeller, Senior Vice President & General Manager, LexisNexis Risk Solutions.
eHI recommends that traditional and non-traditional healthcare entities, as well as social and governmental entities, be bound by the following principles:
Care Coordination—Identify individuals with SDOH needs, coordinate and deliver more holistic care and connections to additional interventions or services
Recognizing Risk Through SDOH Analytics—Identify risk through the use of analytic tools, in order to develop population health management interventions for individuals and communities
Mapping Community Resources and Identifying Gaps—Assess individual SDOH needs against available community resources to identify gaps that address health and wellness
Service and Impact Assessment—Assess impact of SDOH interventions and services
SDOH as a Tool for Customizing Health Services and Interventions—Use SDOH as a guide for quality discussions with individuals, or their designated guardians, and caregivers to jointly decide which services and interventions are the best fit
As the benefits of addressing Social Determinants of Health become further substantiated and data insights become more mainstream, it is important that as an industry we address ethical use and transparency.