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Capturing Social Health Data in Electronic Systems

A Systematic Review

Venzon, Aldreen, MS, BSN, RN; Le, Thuy Bich; Kim, Katherine, PhD, MPH, MBA

CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing: February 2019 - Volume 37 - Issue 2 - p 90–98
doi: 10.1097/CIN.0000000000000481

This systematic review explored the current state of social determinants of health data in electronic systems in the literature, specifically (1) how the data are currently collected, captured, and coded; (2) the modes employed to capture these data; and (3) the electronic systems used to acquire data. This assessment serves as a precursor to an actual survey of healthcare organizations, which will be a national-level effort for evaluating a real-time collection of social health data. By evaluating published information on electronic social determinants of health, we get baseline evidence on the state of these data in the literature as used by nurses, physicians, administrators, researchers, and educators. Two reviewers systematically evaluated articles on social determinants of health and electronic systems. Five data elements were abstracted and analyzed, including the type of social determinants of health data, data capture method, data structure, data standard, and source of data. Forty-two articles were included in the final review. The most common social health data domains were neighborhood and community compositional characteristics. Social health data were rarely found in electronic health records. When these data were captured, they were often manually captured in a structured format.

Author Affiliations: Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, Vallejo, CA.

Funding for this study was provided in part by a scholarship provided by the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, part of a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

Corresponding author: Aldreen Venzon, MS, BSN, RN, Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, 6314 Pebble Beach Dr, Vallejo, CA (

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