The Critical Role of Health IT in New SDOH Screening Mandates
In the ever-evolving healthcare landscape, healthcare organizations must take a unified approach when addressing patients’ social determinants of health (SDOH). This approach is now more crucial than ever, as starting from January 1, 2024, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will mandate the screening of five specific SDOH domains for admitted patients. These domains are as follows:
Utilities (a newer domain, which falls under a larger driver of financial insecurities)
The decision to emphasize coordination among healthcare settings in tackling SDOH is a response to the growing recognition of the critical impact of social determinants on healthcare outcomes. Studies have shown that SDOH contributes significantly, ranging from 30% to 55%, to patient health outcomes (World Health Organization). One widely cited analysis goes further to suggest that social and economic factors alone determine 40% of both the length and quality of our lives, surpassing clinical care-related factors in influence.
Recognizing the importance of addressing SDOH in healthcare, The Joint Commission, a nonprofit that accredits healthcare organizations, and CMS have incorporated SDOH into their accreditation standards and value-based care programs. This strategic move is anticipated to lead to improved patient health and reduced health disparities over time.
To further this cause, CMS will introduce two inpatient quality reporting measures for SDOH in 2024:
Screening for SDOH: This measure will assess the number of patients screened for the five domains of SDOH for individuals aged 18 years or older.
Positive rate for SDOH: This measure will track the number of patients who screened positive for any of the five domains of SDOH