Social Determinants of Health (SDoH)

Every person’s health story is unique. Telling that story requires clinical data and the socioeconomic factors that influence overall health. Capturing social determinants of health (SDOH) data—which include factors such as economic stability, social connections, and behavioral health—helps healthcare providers create meaningful health journeys for individuals and communities. As the leading voice of health information, AHIMA believes that health information professionals bring a uniquely comprehensive view to using SDOH data. AHIMA is working across the healthcare landscape to educate, align, and advocate for purposeful and informed strategies that safeguard privacy, reduce cost, improve quality of care, and foster a patient-centered experience that is broadly accessible and equitable to the communities the health system serves.

We believe SDOH factors play a role in explaining why vulnerable communities have experienced more negative impacts during the COVID-19 pandemic than other areas. It’s vital for SDOH information to be recorded in medical records, as AHIMA’s Julie Pursley writes on the news website Electronic Health Reporter.

 What are Social Determinants of Health?

Social determinants of health (SDOH) are the economic, social, and behavioral conditions that influence the health and quality of life of individuals and populations. HIM professionals are uniquely equipped to capture this complex information, helping clinical and financial health teams create meaningful health journeys for individuals and communities.

Social Determination


SDOH Content at Your Fingertips

Journal of AHIMA SDOH Resource Center

Bookmark this page, Whole-Person Healthcare, as a navigable resource for SDOH-related content. Here you will find articles from the Journal of AHIMA exploring the topic of SDOH as well as information on events and other resources from AHIMA and the across the healthcare industry.

Social determinants of health (SDOH) data offer a fundamental shift in value-based healthcare delivery. Provider organizations are evaluating high-impact interventions that address the non-medical root causes of health issues in both individuals and populations. However, incorporating SDOH in practice presents significant challenges in data acquisition, validation, analysis, and integration.

Perspectives in Health Information Management: Integrating Social Determinants of Health into the Electronic Health Records of a Large Health System: A Qualitative Perspective

This peer-reviewed study explores barriers and facilitators for the integration of SDOH into the EHR system of a large diverse healthcare system in South Florida.

Journal of AHIMA: Social Determinant ICD-10 Codes Can Be Assigned Based on Non-physician Documentation

The American Hospital Association (AHA) recently reaffirmed that providers can assign social determinant codes in ICD-10-CM based on documentation from any member of the care team, including non-physicians such as social workers, case managers, nurses, and other allied staff.

AHIMA Body of Knowledge: Reporting Social Determinants of Health

Capturing SDOH data is rapidly becoming a necessary element of documentation. As capturing this data becomes a necessary part of encounter documentation, clinicians and allied health staff can turn to the ICD-10-CM code set for help.

Journal of AHIMA: Are We There Yet? Evaluating Whether EHRs are Meeting the Needs of Value-Based Care

Is all the data generated by electronic health record systems being used effectively to improve patient care, drive down costs, and deliver value-based care?

SDOH in the Health Industry

Below is a curated list of other organizations working in SDOH. To learn more about these efforts, click the links below:


Read more about Patient Identification and Matching or Information Blocking, two other important topics in the health information industry.


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