SDOH Clinical Care
1.0.0 - STU 1

SDOH Clinical Care, published by HL7 International - Patient Care WG. This is not an authorized publication; it is the continuous build for version 1.0.0). This version is based on the current content of https://github.com/HL7/fhir-sdoh-clinicalcare/ and changes regularly. See the Directory of published versions

Privacy and Security

Statutes, Regulations, and Guiding Principles

All implementations of the SDOH ClinicalCare FHIR Implementation Guide (IG)

  • SHALL meet all current relevant Federal and State statutes and regulations regarding security and privacy.
  • SHALL use applicable technical standards required by current regulations published by CMS and ONC (allowing for voluntary use through the SVAP) unless an exception has been granted.
  • SHOULD follow the Gravity Project Data Principles when the final version is published.
  • SHALL support patient/member consent and/or treatment of sensitive information consistent with Federal and State statutes and regulations.
  • SHOULD support the consent and data sharing policies of trading partners involved in the exchange that are more protective so long as policies are consistent with or more restrictive than Federal and State statutes and regulations.

FHIR Security and Implementation Guidance

All implementations of the SDOH ClinicalCare FHIR Implementation Guide (IG) SHOULD follow the FHIR Security guidance and FHIR Implementer’s Safety guidance as defined in the relevant FHIR specification (e.g., Release 4.1.0) where applicable and not superseded by this Section or specific IG requirements.

The FHIR Security specification provides guidance related to communication security, authentication, authorization/access control, audit, digital signatures, attachments, labels, narrative, and input validation. The FHIR security specification is available here

The FHIR Implementer’s Safety specification is a check list to help implementers be sure that they have considered all the parts of FHIR that impact their system design regarding safety. The FHIR safety check list is available here.

As of May 2020, ONC has elected to not require either Data Labeling or Consent Directives as part of the Final Rule for the 21st Century Cures Act.

At present there is no explicit regulatory requirement for the use of these technologies.

However, to meet the statutes, regulations, and guiding principles above, consent directives and security labels MAY be considered and used.

Organizations which plan to take advantage of these additional capabilities are responsible for negotiating support for these mechanisms between trading partners. The FHIR implementation guide defining the recommended standard is the FHIR Data Segmentation for Privacy IG.

Exchange Security

When exchanging PHI between entities, the exchange SHOULD use the current version and SHALL use either current or the immediately prior release of Transport Level Security (TLS) as specified by the current release of NIST guidelines (SP 800-52). When the identity of the requesting or receiving party is important, implementations SHOULD use one or more of the following:

  • the SMART on FHIR Framework,
  • mutually authenticated TLS,
  • the ONC FHIR At Scale Taskforce (FAST) security tiger team recommended solutions, or
  • the OAuth Server to Server Authentication as defined in the Bulk Data exchange IG. Note: There is ongoing work to enhance the capabilities of the above specifications to ensure a more secure exchange that recognizes issues related to fine grain scopes.

Additionally Protected Information

Additionally protected information may include items defined by Federal (e.g., 42 CFR Part 2), State (e.g., many states protect substance abuse disorder, HIV diagnosis/treatment records, release of information on minors – note this is not an exhaustive list) statutes and regulations. In addition, organizations may provide for additional protection for specific types of information that are deemed sensitive to the individual (e.g., SDOH information). The following guidelines apply unless otherwise dictated by statute or regulation:

Where permitted by law and in accordance with legal requirements and, where appropriate, consent of the individual, release of additionally protected information SHALL always be supported. Release of the information without explicit request of the patient/member SHALL be based on organization policy consistent with Federal and State regulations. Examples are legal requests for information and “break glass” to treat a patient that is unable to provide consent.