Fenway Health is pleased to announce that it has been selected as the pilot site, in partnership with Audacious Inquiry, the University of Washington’s Clinical Informatics Research Group and athenahealth, to participate in the Advancing Standards for Precision Medicine (ASPM) project. The nationwide project, being conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), aims to develop standards for the collection of social determinants of health data (unmet needs in areas such as income, educational attainment, employment status, food security, housing, and more). The project is focused on how healthcare providers can systematically identify the socio-economic factors that may impact the health of patients in order to provide more individualized care that reflects patients’ needs. The project will ultimately help advance precision medicine while informing new provisions of care.
Currently, there are no national standards for the collection and sharing of social determinants of health data (SDOH) between health information technology systems. “Fenway Health is extremely excited to play a leadership role in this project,” said Chris Grasso, Associate VP for Informatics and Data Services and Fenway Health’s ASPM project leader. “Getting the collection of SDOH right will ultimately lead to improved treatment protocols and health outcomes for our patients and patients across the country.”
The project will leverage digital tools and questionnaires to advance the standardized collection of data. Social determinants of health play a major role in individual health outcomes. “athenahealth’s partnerships with Fenway health and others ground us to the realities and challenges of healthcare today to improve health outcomes” said Kedar Ganta, athenahealth’s Product Leader for Interoperability Strategy. “Transforming Patient Care by prioritizing the collection and sharing of interoperable SDOH data will better identify patient needs and create impact across the communities” In fact, patients’ unmet social needs have been found to account for up to 40 percent of individual health outcomes. Increasingly, health care organizations are focused on addressing these needs to help improve treatment and care in a way that addresses the whole patient.
Fenway Health will employ their current web-based assessment tool, ePRO, which was developed by the University of Washington’s Clinical Informatics Research Group (CIRG), as a prototype for testing and transmitting the systematic capture of SDOH data, as well as ASPM’s proposed standards and implementation guides as part of their effort. That data will then be sent to athenahealth, Fenway Health’s electronic health record (EHR) vendor, and be incorporated into the patient’s health record in a standardized format. “Standardizing SDOH data and incorporating that information into the EHR along with other patient reported outcomes, allows health care providers to better understand the context in which their patients live and what they experience, and helps providers offer more personalized and relevant care”, said Dr. Bill Lober, Professor at the University of Washington, and director of CIRG.
The ASPM project is set to last through the Fall of 2020 and will culminate in an evaluation report to be shared with ONC and the National Institute of Health (NIH). The evaluation will be used to identify challenges in data collection and sharing between health care providers and to develop solutions that will lead to better implementation of collection initiatives and protocols in the future.
The project hopes to expand the types of data that can be integrated into electronic health records to create a more complete picture of the patient that would reflect the patient’s practical reality and the issues that may impact their health in the future. Ultimately, the project’s goal is to give health care providers the data and tools needed to provide patients with individualized treatment and to help them achieve better outcomes.