CyncHealth, Nebraska’s Designated Health Information Exchange, Joins Gravity Project to Create Better Standards to Effectively Address Social Determinants of Health Nationwide

OMAHA, Neb., Jan. 27, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — CyncHealth has joined the growing collaboration of health care systems, digital health companies, community-based organizations, government agencies, and consumer advocacy groups leading national efforts to accelerate social determinants of health (SDOH) data interoperability through the Gravity Project.
The Gravity Project convenes a nationwide collaborative of subject matter experts to develop national standards for SDOH data collected and exchanged in electronic record systems. The initiative brings together a diverse community to identify and review terminologies, conduct a gap analysis, and develop recommendations to address the gaps using nationally recognized data standards.
Initially, the project focused on the domains of food insecurity, housing insecurity (including housing instability, homelessness, and housing quality), and transportation insecurity. In partnership with CyncHealth, Gravity is expanding to additional domains such as financial strain, material hardship, stress, and social isolation, as well as demographic attributes. Standardized codes better enable the use of data for patient care, as well as understanding current gaps in services or needs in communities. There is growing recognition across healthcare clinicians of the importance to capture and access data on the needs of social care.
In August 2019, the Gravity Project became an HL7® Fast Health Interoperability Resource Accelerator (FHIR®) Project with the goal to accelerate the development, testing, and adoption of the FHIR specification for SDOH data exchange. FHIR is a nationwide standard for certified health IT and API interoperability.
"CyncHealth is proud to partner with the Gravity Project in this important domain of healthcare interoperability," said Jaime Bland, CyncHealth President and CEO. "Creating better data to address social needs helps reduce barriers and improve access to care, which ultimately improves the health of our communities."
The Gravity Project’s efforts closely align with the work CyncHealth is doing through Unite Nebraska, a community information exchange. Partners in the exchange are connected through a shared technology platform, Unite Us, which enables them to send and receive electronic referrals, address people’s social needs, and improve health across communities. Unite Nebraska is part of a groundbreaking multi-state initiative that includes Nebraska and six other states across the central region, with funding support through the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
Unite Us also is involved with the Gravity Project and supports the mission to standardize SDOH data and create a common language for the industry to connect health and social care. "CyncHealth’s participation in the Gravity Project is ideal in more than one way," said Taylor Justice, President and Co-founder of Unite Us. "We know the Gravity Project will benefit from CyncHealth’s visionary leadership and expertise in cross-sector collaboration. And we’re eager to support CyncHealth, CyncHealth’s customers, and other Gravity Project partners in the demonstration and practical application of these concepts to models of care, payment, interoperability, and analytics, and in turn, share these learnings with the industry," Justice added.
Two CyncHealth leaders serve on the Gravity Project’s advisory committees: Joy Doll, Chief Academic Program Officer for the Nebraska Healthcare Collaborative and Vice President, Academic Programs, NEHII Shared Services; and Naresh Sundar Rajan, Chief Technology Officer and Vice President, Technology & Operations.
"We are excited to partner with CyncHealth on advancing the work of the Gravity Project and accelerating the development of nationally recognized interoperability standards for social determinants of health. The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified the need to address health disparities and individual’s social needs," said Evelyn Gallego, CEO of EMI Advisors LLC and Program Manager for the Gravity Project. "Now more than ever, health information exchange entities like CyncHealth play a critical role in facilitating interoperable data exchange between clinical settings that may first identify the social need and community-based organizations that help to address the social need."
About the Gravity Project
Initiated by the Social Interventions Research & Evaluations Network (SIREN), with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and in partnership with EMI Advisors LLC, the Gravity Project creates consensus-driven standards that address social care in clinical settings, integrate SDOH data into a digital infrastructure, and enable the collecting and exchanging of individual-level SDOH data across and in between clinical and community-based organizations. Follow the Gravity Project on LinkedIn and Twitter.
About CyncHealth (NEHII is now CyncHealth)
CyncHealth’s mission is to bring trust and value to health information technology by creating solutions for moving health data forward. CyncHealth is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a public/private governance model that includes health care providers, payers, and the State of Nebraska. CyncHealth is the designated statewide Health Information Exchange designed to share clinical and administrative data among providers in Nebraska and neighboring states. CyncHealth’s purpose is to achieve health care transformation through community betterment collaboration while protecting the security and privacy of medical information. Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
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