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Tuesday March 28, 2023  |  Kyle Luttrell

The Importance of Interoperability in Addressing Healthcare Disparities

The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) recently held its annual Informatics Summit in Seattle. The event drew numerous speakers and attendees from around the country with a shared passion for data science and bioinformatics.

Front and center during these presentations was the importance of drawing connections between healthcare data collection and analysis to address health disparities and improve patient outcomes.

In this post, we outline the importance of understanding the social determinants of health (SDoH) and how a full-featured EHR can support providers in tackling these population health challenges.

What are Social Determinants of Health?

According to Healthy People 2030, social determinants of health significantly impact well-being and quality of life.

The opportunity to obtain an education, secure a good job, and earn a stable income are critical social determinants of health that can significantly influence health outcomes. Individuals with limited access to these resources may face difficulties in receiving healthcare and other essential services.

Moreover, nutritious foods and opportunities for physical activity are crucial SDoH. Lack of access to healthy foods and exercise can raise the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

What roles do EHRs and FHIR play in addressing healthcare disparities?

Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) has been described as the future of interoperability. As a part of federal regulation via the Cures Act, Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are required to conform to interoperability standards outlined within this Final Rule. A component of this rule is adherence to HL7 FHIR standards, specifically, the United States Core Data for Interoperability (USCDI) Version 1 and SMART Application Launch.

These efforts aim to increase connectivity between healthcare systems and the patients they serve, as well as improve the availability of patient data for a wide range of users as they move around the healthcare ecosystem. A key factor when considering the potential use cases for these efforts is their impact on a patient's social determinants of health (SDoH).

A few real-world examples to consider:

  • The use of data, such as ICD10 codes, clinical notes, and lab results to assist in the prediction of suicidality in adolescents
  • Using geolocation data to identify patients who may experience housing or food insecurity based on their home address
  • Real-time Clinical Decision Support within clinical workflows
  • Analysis of ICD10 comorbidities, which may be associated to patterns of intimate partner abuse and potential correlations to mental health
  • From clinical research trials to point-of-care applications, the possibilities for how healthcare data can improve patient outcomes are virtually endless.

MEDHOST Cures 2023 Interoperability Solution

MEDHOST is a committed partner in helping our customers achieve these initiatives. Our Cures 2023 Interoperability Solution is an essential building block in seeing your population health goals come to fruition.

To learn more about how MEDHOST can help achieve interoperability and facilitate addressing healthcare disparities, please get in touch with us at or call 1.800.383.6278.

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