Texas HIE to integrate social determinants data into health system's EHR

Chris Nerney
Chris Nerney, Contributing Writer |
Texas HIE to integrate social determinants data into health system's EHR

A Texas health information exchange (HIE) is partnering with a San Antonio-based healthcare system on a pilot project to add social determinant data to patient clinical information.

The collaboration between HASA (the HIE) and non-profit Methodist Healthcare Ministries (MHM) of South Texas, which owns San Antonio’s Methodist Healthcare System, aims to include socioeconomic factors such a patient’s employment, living conditions, access to transportation, food insecurity, and support network, when devising clinical care strategies.

“We have heard from many physicians that HASA’s ability to provide clinical and up-to-date patient information at the time a patient needs care in an emergency room has become more mainstream,” HASA Executive Director Gijs van Oort told San Antonio Business Journal senior reporter W. Scott Bailey. “At the same time, research shows that the reasons people seek medical care are not limited to physical or emotional [concerns] but are more affected by social conditions such as housing, transportation and the ability to eat regularly.”

Indeed, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes, “Resources that enhance quality of life can have a significant influence on population health outcomes. Examples of these resources include safe and affordable housing, access to education, public safety, availability of healthy foods, local emergency/health services, and environments free of life-threatening toxins.”

MHM is funding the project via a $175,000 grant to HASA. The HIE plans to deploy a cloud-based application to collect and store social determinant data at one of MHM’s two primary care clinics in San Antonio during 2018. HASA medical director Vince Fonseca, MD, will manage the project.