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  • Gathering and integrating social determinants of health (SDOH) data are becoming more common, but the study of social informatics could help ease the integration process.
  • The rise of value-based reimbursement has led the medical field to increasingly recognize the importance of meeting not only patients’ clinical needs, but also their social needs. As social services and SDOH programming crop up in practices and hospitals nationwide, providers need the SDOH data itself to determine how to best refer patients to services.
  • Current health IT and data processing systems aren’t quite equipped to do that. Interoperability and integration from multiple data sources hamstring efforts to understand the full scope of SDOH and create appropriate social services recommendations to patients. The burgeoning field of social informatics may be the answer to that, as well as federal calls for better use of SDOH data, like those from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC).

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