The Gravity Project, a social determinants of health programs joins HL7 FHIR Accelerator Program

social determinants of health

The Gravity Project, a social determinants of health program, is being rolled into the HL7 FHIR Accelerator Program.

The efforts encouraged by the American Association of Family Physicians, will focus on standardizing medical codes to be used for social determinants of health. They will include topics like work, lifestyle and socioeconomic factors. This program also aims at making data sharing easier for care communication.

At present the project is focusing on creating documentation for screening, diagnosing, treating, and planning in a patient’s EHR. It is also finding ways to capture social determinants of health data and develop FHIR guidelines associated with the data set.

HL7 International CEO Dr. Charles Jaffe said that by incorporating the social determinants of health care into their decision process, the Gravity Project will help to transform care delivery and health analytics.

Social determinants of health is widely discussed in the field health care. According to the National Academy of Science, medical care only accounts for between 10% and 20% of health outcomes, whereas social determinants account for 80% to 90% of outcomes. But traditionally it is difficult to document this in EHRs. 

Dr. Trent Haywood, chief medical officer for BCBSA and president of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Institute said that the social and environmental conditions in which we live, such as access to healthy food and housing or reliable transportation, are critical to our health.

The Gravity Project will help enable the data interoperability that lets the entire health care community to address obstacles that limit the ability to achieve optimal health. Now organizations have started looking at patients’ health beyond just clinical care. They are connecting patients to community resources.

Many payers are opting for digital health as a means to address social determinants of health.