White paper

Realizing the potential of SDOH data: A look at policy, screening, and the role of NLP


Screening for social determinants of health (SDOH) is relatively new. But beginning in fiscal year 2024, all hospitals that accept Medicare payment will be required to screen all patients for SDOH. And while that may seem straightforward, it’s actually rather complex.

For example, a large portion of SDOH data is unstructured and exists in free text, like clinical notes. Without a way to extract, transform, classify, and map that information to clinical terminology and standardized codes, the full value of SDOH data remains inaccessible.

In this white paper, Ann D. Phillips, IMO’s Director of Government and Standards, provides valuable background on SDOH screening challenges, policy, and the need for normalization with natural language processing (NLP) to improve the utility of this important data.

Key learnings:

  • SDOH screening fundamentals, tools, and obstacles
  • How data informs Priority 1 of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ CMS Framework for Health Equity 2022-2023
  • The need for normalization with NLP to transform SDOH data into structured data that supports interoperability

Who It's For

Download the white paper