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    Chris Harrop
    Chris Harrop

    Big technological changes are happening across the healthcare industry, but they require data — and lots of it. That’s why many medical group practices are always focused on what types of data they collect from patients, along with how best to collect and use it appropriately. 

    MGMA Stat - December 19, 2023 - 48% of medical groups added or improved collection of patient demographic or social determinant data in 2023.

    A Dec. 19, 2023, MGMA Stat poll found that nearly half (48%) of medical groups reported adding or improving patient demographic or social determinant data collection in 2023, while 52% did not. The poll had 254 applicable responses. 

    In 2023, medical groups focused on boosting data collection, primarily through new or updated screening tools for social determinants of health (SDoH) integrated into EHR. These initiatives also included team education on the importance of SDoH and partnerships with community resources to assist patients with housing, transportation, food insecurity and more.  

    “We already had a screening tool, but it fell by the wayside during [the pandemic],” one practice leader told MGMA regarding their re-implementation of the SDoH screening. Other respondents noted that they specifically worked to map LOINC (logical observation identifier names and codes) standards to data for sharing with a regional health information organization (RHIO). 

    A Feb. 28, 2023, MGMA Stat poll previously found that nearly half (49%) of medical groups screen for SDoH. 

    However, a variety of other patient demographic and social data collection efforts were noted by respondents in the poll, including: 

    • Veteran status 
    • Primary and/or additional languages spoken 
    • Gender identity and pronouns 
    • Sexual orientation 
    • Religion 
    • Ethnicity. 

    Regardless of the data collection approach used, many medical group leaders said that it was a crucial first step toward reporting and automating referrals, often with community health workers stepping in after patient visits to assist in areas of need. 

    For respondents whose organizations did not have any new or improved efforts in patient data collection this year, some noted that they would consider developing SDoH screenings in 2024, especially among practices planning to participate in new payment models offered through the CMS Innovation Center that include screening for SDoH as a clinical quality measure. 

    Data collection case study: Montefiore Medical Group 

    As Otis Lewis, MHA, CHFP, FACMPE, and Marianna Sica, MHA, MS, OTR/L, detail in their article in the January 2024 issue of MGMA Connection magazine: “Complete and accurate data collection is a key component in identifying healthcare disparities within a patient population. Healthcare employees, specifically registration/front desk personnel, must be equipped with the appropriate knowledge, training and resources to solicit this information from the patients within their organization.” 

    In their article, Lewis and Sica detail the use of a PDSA cycle to understand Montefiore Medical Group’s existing efforts in collection race, ethnicity and language (REaL) data and guiding quality improvement and, in time, reducing health disparities among the group’s patients. 

    Additional MGMA resources 

    Join MGMA Stat  

    We depend on a strong feedback loop with you to provide great resources, education and advocacy for medical group leaders. To be part of this effort, sign up for MGMA Stat and make your voice heard in our weekly polls. Sign up by texting “STAT” to 33550 or visit Polls will be sent to your phone via text message. 
    Do you have any best practices or success stories to share on this topic? Please let us know by emailing us at  


    Chris Harrop

    Written By

    Chris Harrop

    A veteran journalist, Chris Harrop serves as managing editor of MGMA Connection magazine, MGMA Insights newsletter, MGMA Stat and several other publications across MGMA. Email him.

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