ICD-10 Z-Code Health-Related Social Needs and Increased Healthcare Utilization

Published:December 02, 2021DOI:


      Health-related social needs are known drivers of health and health outcomes, yet work to date to examine health-related social needs using ICD-10 Z-codes remains limited. This study seeks to evaluate the differences in the prevalence of conditions as well as utilization and cost between patients with and without health-related social needs.


      Using the 2017 Florida State Emergency Department and State Inpatient Databases, this study identified patients with documented health-related social needs using ICD-10 Z-codes. The prevalence ratio was calculated for 14 conditions that are the leading causes of mortality and economic costs. In addition, ratios for the median total number of negative health events and total annual costs between patients with health-related social needs and those without health-related social needs across these conditions were calculated. Data analysis was conducted in 2021.


      Of 4,477,772 patients, 46,081 (1.0%) had documented health-related social needs and had 4 times the negative health events and 9.3 times the total annual costs. Trends of increased negative health events and costs were seen across all examined conditions; patients with health-related social needs had 2.5–3.5 times the negative health events and 2–18 times greater total costs. The biggest difference in negative health events was seen in patients with unintentional injuries and depression and psychoses (3.5 times for patients with health-related social needs), whereas the biggest difference in total costs was for unintentional injuries (18.4 times for patients with health-related social needs).


      This study shows the increased prevalence of numerous high-priority conditions as well as increased utilization and costs among patients with documented health-related social needs.
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