NQF Releases Recommendations to Help Medicaid Programs Standardize SDOH Data Collection

Sweeney E
Publication Year: 2018
Patient Need Addressed: Food insecurity, Homelessness/housing
Population Focus: Medicaid beneficiaries
Intervention Type: Best practices
Type of Literature: Grey


Insights Results

Overview of article

  • Amid a growing recognition that environmental factors like food and housing are influential to health outcomes, the National Quality Forum (NQF) has released a framework for Medicaid programs to improve data collection for social determinants of health (SDOH)


  • Acknowledging the work that some states have already done to integrate information on SDOH, NQF said the types of tools used to collect and analyze information may vary, but there needs to be a broader industry consensus about which information should be prioritized. Establishing baseline data collection standards will allow providers to share information across health systems and reduce duplicate reporting
  • A major part of that effort includes altering data input fields within Electronic Health Records (EHRs). Looking beyond diagnostic codes, the panel of experts recommended incorporating specific standards for food insecurity and housing instability which would allow providers to coordinate with community resources. The report acknowledged there may also be opportunities for “passive” data collection through smartphones despite the numerous barriers that exist currently

Key takeaways/implications

  • NQF has been a leading proponent of incorporating SDOH data at the point of care. Last year, the organization partnered with Aetna to develop national data collection standards while emphasizing the importance of having the right technology in place to capture that information