Affinity Group to Support Gravity Project Implementation Pilots

Oct. 27, 2022
Pilot activities range from using Gravity social risk terminology across primary care activities to exchanging SDOH information across the health and human services ecosystem

The Gravity Project, an HL7 FHIR accelerator, is developing standards for the collection of data related to food security, housing stability, and transportation access. A Gravity Project Pilots Affinity Group is being launched to support the work of putting the Social Determinants of Health Clinical Care FHIR Implementation Guide into practice.

Organizations working on pilots include Oregon-based OCHIN, AllianceChicago, and The University of Texas at Austin. Use case activities include validating coded terminology sets, exchanging the data capture using Gravity terminology value sets and established content and transport standards, and implementing Gravity SDOH Clinical Care FHIR standards.

The affinity group is envisioned as a peer-to-peer learning forum for entities participating in the real-world testing of Gravity terminology and technical standards. Each participating pilot serves as a feasibility study or experimental trial launched on a relatively small scale to help an organization learn how a large-scale project might work in practice.

Testing Gravity standards includes everything from using Gravity social risk terminology for the care of patients and clients across four primary care activities — screening, diagnosis, goal setting, and interventions — to exchanging social determinants of health (SDOH) information across the health and human services ecosystem while promoting individual privacy, safety, security, and accountability for patient records.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) is supporting the publication of the latest version of the implementation guide, currently in ballot at HL7, and providing funding for sites to pilot it. ONC said these efforts are expected to demonstrate how best to advance the nation’s technical infrastructure to enable SDOH interoperability as supported by ONC’s United States Core Data for Interoperability, Version 2.

ONC said that collectively, these affinity group and implementation guide activities are expected to help improve the access, exchange, and use of SDOH standards by:

• Accelerating the shift to industry preferred FHIR API standards-based exchange of data elements that support SDOH on a national scale;

• Gaining real-world experience by piloting the SDOH Clinical Care FHIR Implementation Guide; and

• Providing direct support to community-based organizations to participate in the pilot alongside clinical partners.

ONC helped fund this work through a cooperative agreement with HL7 in support of HHS’s Strategic Approach to Addressing Social Determinants of Health to Advance Health Equity, a three-pronged strategy to support robust and interconnected data infrastructure, improve access to health and social services, and adopt a whole of government approach for enhancing population health and well-being.

This work also helps provide a foundation from which groups, such as the recently announced Sync for Social Needs Initiative, can be most impactful.

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