There is increased acceptance that social and behavioral determinants of health (SBDH) impact health outcomes, but electronic health records (EHRs) are not always set up to capture the full range of SBDH variables in a systematic manner. The purpose of this study was to explore rates and trends of social history (SH) data collection—1 element of SBDH—in a structured portion of an EHR within a large academic integrated delivery system. EHR data for individuals with at least 1 visit in 2017 were included in this study. Completeness rates were calculated for how often SBDH variable was assessed and documented. Logistic regressions identified factors associated with assessment rates for each variable. A total of 44,166 study patients had at least 1 SH variable present. Tobacco use and alcohol use were the most frequently captured SH variables. Black individuals were more likely to have their alcohol use assessed (odds ratio [OR] 1.21) compared with White individuals, whereas White individuals were more likely to have their “smokeless tobacco use” assessed (OR 0.92). There were also differences between insurance types. Drug use was more likely to be assessed in the Medicaid population for individuals who were single (OR 0.95) compared with the commercial population (OR 1.05). SH variable assessment is inconsistent, which makes use of EHR data difficult to gain better understanding of the impact of SBDH on health outcomes. Standards and guidelines on how and why to collect SBDH information within the EHR are needed.


Lasser, E. C., Gudzune, K. A., Lehman, H., et al. (2023). Trends and Patterns of Social History Data Collection Within an Electronic Health Record. Population Health Management. https://doi.org/10.1089/pop.2022.0209