For those looking in from outside of the medical coding world, all the letters and numbers identifying thousands of different conditions may seem formulaic and impersonal. But at its core, coding is about providing better patient care. With the latest expansion of ICD-10 to include additional codes for Social Determinants of Health (SDOH), we have an even bigger opportunity to impact overall population health by promoting health equity.
Over the last several years, research has shown that social conditions, such as access to food, housing, and transportation, affect a wide range of health outcomes. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that SDOH influence a staggering 30-55% of health outcomes.
Our role as coders is to correctly capture all the factors in life that affect the patient’s health, analyze the data, and give feedback to providers so they can address those needs, thereby directly impacting public health. Expanding the SDOH code set allows us to support better care for the whole person because health care goes beyond diseases and ailments. Improving the incorporation of SDOH in clinical documentation helps everyone involved in care delivery turn their focus back on what’s most important: the person.
Join AQuity Solutions, in booth #717, Oct. 8-10 at AHIMA in Baltimore where several sessions are focused on this important topic. SDOH is so much more than just new codes. Together, we can help treat all the issues that impact patient health.