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AHIMA Announces Launch of Data for Better Health™ Initiative

CHICAGO – October 9, 2023 – Today, the American Health Information Management Association® (AHIMA) proudly unveiled a groundbreaking initiative, Data for Better Health™, at its annual conference, AHIMA23, in Baltimore, MD. 

The Data for Better Health initiative is poised to revolutionize the healthcare landscape by enhancing awareness of the transformative potential of social determinants of health (SDOH) data to improve health outcomes. This AHIMA initiative will empower healthcare professionals working with SDOH data, thought leaders, policymakers, and the public with the knowledge and resources necessary to harness SDOH data to improve individual and community health. 

According to the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, only 20 percent of our health is related to access to care and quality of healthcare service. The remaining 80 percent is determined by societal factors, including an individual's physical environment, socioeconomic factors like education or job status, or health behaviors such as diet and exercise. 

The goals of the AHIMA Data for Better Health initiative include: 

  • Engaging healthcare professionals working with SDOH to understand the business case for collecting, using, and sharing SDOH data and to offer strategies for success. 
  • Educating and engaging with consumers to build trust and a greater understanding of SDOH and the benefits of sharing SDOH information with healthcare professionals.  
  • Advancing policy and advocacy among policymakers by developing and promoting a data-driven SDOH advocacy agenda. 
  • Supporting innovation within the healthcare ecosystem to accelerate the adoption of best practices and new models. 

AHIMA, as the preeminent authority in health information (HI), assumes the mantle of leadership in this pivotal endeavor. HI professionals are central to accelerating the collection, utilization, and sharing of SDOH data. 

Earlier this year, AHIMA commissioned a comprehensive study conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago to gain insights into the real-world challenges surrounding collecting, utilizing, and sharing SDOH data. The study's key findings were revealing: 

  • A lack of standardization and integration of SDOH data into an individual's medical record, even when the data is collected within the organization. 
  • Insufficient training and education on capturing, collecting, coding, and utilizing SDOH data. 
  • Limited use of SDOH data for communication between healthcare providers and community-based referral organizations. 

“To truly enhance health outcomes, AHIMA is committed to driving change within the healthcare industry, engaging consumers, shaping policy, and accelerating the use of SDOH data,” said AHIMA Board President/Chair Jennifer Mueller, MBA, RHIA, SHIMSS, FACHE, FAHIMA. “Our organization is committed to leading this transformative change nationally while our members act within their organizations and communities.” 

The timing of this initiative could not be more critical. The COVID-19 pandemic has cast a stark spotlight on healthcare disparities, and payers are increasingly integrating health equity into value-based payment models. The federal government has signaled a heightened interest in assessing the field's progress toward improving health equity. This presents an opportunity for AHIMA to drive meaningful action and shape policy.  

AHIMA aims to influence standards, share best practices, foster stakeholder collaboration, and advocate for a shared goal: effectively enhancing health outcomes and equity for all. 

Learn more at and view the launch video



AHIMA is a global nonprofit association of health information (HI) professionals with more than 67,000 members and more than 100,000 credentials in the field. The AHIMA 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.

Dawn Glossa
(312) 233-1076


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