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AHIMA Releases New Policy Statement Regarding Social Determinants of Health

CHICAGO – December 7, 2020 – The American Health Information Management Association announced today its Board of Directors has approved a new policy statement on the subject of social determinants of health (SDoH) – the economic and social conditions that influence the health and quality of life of individuals and populations. The policy statement says AHIMA “supports the use of public policy to encourage the collection, access, sharing, and use of social determinants of health to enrich clinical decision-making and improve health outcomes, public health, and health inequities in ways that are culturally respectful.”

AHIMA releases policy statements to encourage and influence public policy, as part of its vision of a world where trusted information transforms health and healthcare by connecting people, systems, and ideas. The policy statement states that AHIMA believes public policy must:

  • Establish global standards to promote the capture, use, maintenance and sharing of SDoH data.
  • Promote health care delivery and financing models designed to integrate SDoH data into the clinical setting in ways that are culturally respectful.
  • Build patient trust and foster positive patient-provider relationships to encourage patients to share their social challenges.
  • Enhance the sharing of SDoH data across clinical and community-based organizations and service providers.
  • Prioritize privacy.
  • Recognize workforce training needs.
  • Promote the ethical collection and use of SDoH data.
  • Embrace the role of health information professionals.

“I’m pleased AHIMA’s Board of Directors has prioritized the importance of SDoH factors in healthcare,” said AHIMA CEO Wylecia Wiggs Harris, PhD, CAE. “Recording, using, and sharing SDoH data allows healthcare providers to better create meaningful and accurate health journeys for not only patients but entire communities.”  

AHIMA President/Chair Ginna Evans, MBA, RHIA, CPC, CRC, FAHIMA, who serves on the AHIMA Board of Directors, said she was proud the Board approved this new policy statement.

“AHIMA is the leading voice of health information and I’m proud of the work we have done and will continue to do to educate, align, and advocate for purposeful and informed SDoH strategies,” Evans said. “Health information professionals can offer a unique perspective on how to use and share SDoH data, and I’m excited to see how it will lead to improved patient care in the coming years.”


AHIMA is a global nonprofit association of health information (HI) professionals. AHIMA represents professionals who work with health data for more than one billion patient visits each year. AHIMA’s mission of empowering people to impact health drives our members and credentialed HI professionals to ensure that health information is accurate, complete, and available to patients and providers. Our leaders work at the intersection of healthcare, technology, and business, and are found in data integrity and information privacy job functions worldwide.

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