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eHI Releases Tools Promoting the Use of ICD-10-CM Z Codes for Social Determinants of Health Data

October 17, 2019
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – October 17, 2019 - eHealth Initiative & Foundation (eHI) released a set of tools to help promote the use of ICD-10-CM Z codes to capture social determinants of health (SDOH) data. This collaborative project, consisting of industry leaders from payer organizations and other stakeholder groups, sought to develop a consistent and unified approach to promote the use of existing ICD-10-CM codes for SDOH and the adoption and utilization of proposed SDOH codes, once approved, among provider organizations and coding professionals.

“By integrating SDOH insights into care plans, healthcare stakeholders can recognize the need for, and enable access to, additional services or interventions for patients,” said Jennifer Covich Bordenick, Chief Executive Officer, eHealth Initiative & Foundation. “ICD-10-CM Z codes can be used to record this information, directly into patient records, offering deeper insights into factors such as reliable housing, healthy food, and transportation, which also affect health.”

“Using the Z codes for social determinants of health helps hospitals and health systems to better track patient needs and identify solutions to improve the health of their communities. The use of SDOH data from the electronic health record (EHR) for clinical, operational, and research purposes can facilitate tracking, identification, and referrals to social and governmental services,” said Nelly Leon-Chisen, RHIA, Director, Coding and Classification, American Hospital Association. “To assign ICD-10-CM codes for social determinants of health, coding professionals may use documentation from a physician or any other person authorized to document in the patient’s medical record, such as a nurse or social worker.”
     
“Social-needs gaps – such as isolation, loneliness and food insecurity  – make it hard to have a happy, healthy, purposeful life, and that has a tremendous impact on overall well-being, “Standardized screening and code capturing can reveal these upstream impacts on health and create richer data that helps physicians, care managers, social workers and home health professionals meet our members’ needs more proactively. The result is better care and better health outcomes at a lower cost,” said Caraline Coats, Humana’s Vice-President of Bold Goal & Population Health Strategy.

The ICD-10-CM Z codes tools were launched in conjunction with a webinar featuring panelists from United HealthCare, Humana, and the American Hospital Association. All four tools are available on eHI's website, as well as additional information on SDOH, https://www.ehidc.org/pages/social-determinants-health.

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