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Highmark Joins the Gravity Project to Standardize Social Determinants of Health Data

Highmark recently announced its participation and commitment in support of the Gravity Project, an HL7 Fast Health Interoperability Resource (FHIR Accelerator) and public collaborative designed to standardize medical data used to identify social determinants of health (SDOH). The partnership, now more imperative than ever, is one of many Highmark has supported to combat socioeconomic obstacles affecting the health of communities it serves. 

SDOH are the conditions in which people live, work, learn, and play that can impact individuals’ health and well-being before the health care system can intervene. With rapidly increasing interest in collecting social risk data, the Gravity Project is a direct response to calls-to-action around the development of national standards for SDOH data reported in EHRs. The initiative seeks to identify coded data elements and associated value sets to represent SDOH signifiers documented in EHRs across four clinical activities—screening, diagnosis, planning, and interventions—with a focus on three social risk domains: food insecurity, housing instability, and transportation access. 

Due to the vast medical and socioeconomic needs surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the Gravity Project is moving forward with urgency. Today, standardized SDOH data is vital for identifying at-risk COVID-19 patients and intervening before the individual’s health is severely impacted. 

“As a sponsoring partner, we’re proud to be a change leader in support of the communities we serve, especially in this time of unprecedented need,” says Deborah Donovan, Highmark Health Director, Social Determinants of Health, and Gravity Project Executive Committee Member. “Highmark continues to double-down on efforts to address barriers to health and well-being, and the Gravity Project serves as another important piece of the puzzle by creating the infrastructure to standardize the capture of SDOH insights, which will support advancements in population health management activities, right now and for years to come.” 

Documenting and sharing SDOH-related assessment, diagnosis, and treatment information using progressive coding and exchange standards has the potential to improve whole-person care, well-being, and health outcomes. 

“Highmark is a strategic partner committed to the success of the Gravity Project and the overarching goal of facilitating health care and social service integration,” says Evelyn Gallego, CEO of EMI Advisors LLC. “Highmark’s support in 2020 and beyond is helping to ensure the Gravity Project continues its tremendous progress in identifying and validating interoperable data standards for SDOH information exchange.” 

Highmark’s financial support of the Gravity Project will be utilized in contracted project management, project oversight for specific use case-driven projects,and HL7-rendered support and coordination services for the development of SDOH-enabled FHIR-based standards.

Source: Highmark