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SHIEC Establishes Social Determinants Committee

July 10, 2018
by Rajiv Leventhal
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The Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative (SHIEC) has established a Social Determinants Committee, with the core aim to help SHIEC better focus on identifying and linking social determinants of health (SDOH) data and best practices between societal sectors across the country.

The committee will be led by Jill Eisenstein, the president and CEO of the New York State-based Rochester RHIO (regional health information organization), which is a qualified entity of the Statewide Health Information Network of New York (SHIN-NY).

“For more than a decade, Eisenstein has had a central role in Rochester RHIO’s success, helping it become one of the most respected, innovative and advanced health information exchanges in the U.S.,” according to a SHIEC announcement. “She collaborates with healthcare leaders, government officials, employers, community champions and staff—regionally, statewide and nationally.”

SHIEC represents a national collaborative of HIEs and strategic business and technology partners, who are central to secure digital data exchange by medical, behavioral, and social service providers. Collectively, SHIEC members serve almost 75 percent of the U.S. population. In many cases, these HIEs are at the forefront of collaborating with regional 211 referral services, governmental and non-governmental agencies, and community-based organizations to support improved health.

And now, the association is placing a newfound emphasis on identifying and involving social determinants of health data. According to SHIEC officials, up to 80 percent of health status is determined by factors outside healthcare systems, including financial stability, education, neighborhood environments, and social, family, and community contexts. SDOH data is playing an ever-increasing role in unlocking the underlying causes of certain occurrences, such as life expectancies linked to ZIP codes, SHIEC officials believe.

“Meeting basic societal needs—food, shelter and safety—are most closely correlated to good health. Community HIEs are well-positioned to play vital roles in bridging the gaps between the social services and healthcare sectors, providing mechanisms and policy guidance for access to valuable data,” said Eisenstein. “The committee is working to advance opportunities and overcome challenges for data exchange between health and social services entities. These efforts, in conjunction with widescale SDOH initiatives by groups such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization, will help pinpoint the greatest prospects to improve the well-being of people across the country.”

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