Social Determinants of Health Screening and Management: Lessons at a Large, Urban Academic Health System

Link to article at PubMed

Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2023 Apr 22:S1553-7250(23)00091-0. doi: 10.1016/j.jcjq.2023.04.002. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: In October 2022 a multisite social determinants of health screening initiative was expanded across seven emergency departments of a large, urban hospital system. The aim of the initiative was to identify and address those underlying social needs that frequently interfere with a patient's health and well-being, often resulting in increased preventable system utilization.

METHODS: Building on an established Patient Navigator Program, an existing screening process, and long-standing community-based partnerships, an interdisciplinary workgroup was formed to develop and implement the initiative. Technical and operational workflows were developed and implemented, and new staff members were hired and trained to screen and support patients with identified social needs. In addition, a community-based organization network was formed to explore and test social service referral strategies.

RESULTS: Within the first five months of implementation, more than 8,000 patients were screened across seven emergency departments (EDs), of which 17.3% demonstrated a social need. Patient Navigators see between 5% and 10% of total nonadmitted ED patients. Among the three social needs of focus, housing presented as the greatest need (10.2%), followed by food (9.6%) and transportation (8.0%). Among patients identified as rising/high risk (728), 50.0% accepted support and are actively working with a Patient Navigator.

CONCLUSION: There is growing evidence to support the link between unmet social needs and poor health outcomes. Health care systems are uniquely positioned to provide whole person care by identifying unresolved social needs and by building capacity within local community-based organizations to support those needs.

PMID:37211522 | DOI:10.1016/j.jcjq.2023.04.002

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *