As professional societies increasingly call for clinicians to screen patients for social determinants of health, it is important to review and evaluate the best practices for these screenings, wrote Karina W. Davidson, PhD, and Thomas McGinn, MD, in an opinion piece for JAMA.
The authors outlined two primary concerns clinicians have about performing the screenings. First, they worry the screenings could decrease the time they have to spend on patients’ medical care. Second, clinicians lack confidence in their ability to address social determinants of health and say they lack time and resources for the screenings.
To address these concerns, the authors summarized some of the best practices in social determinant screenings:
1. Create a referral list and identify social screening needs.
A list of local community services, compiled with the help of public health departments and mental health organizations, can help clinicians refer patients to other services more quickly, the authors wrote.
2. Use integrated care models.
A co-location treatment model integrates social service workers and resources with clinical practice while also destigmatizing patients’ social service needs, according to the authors.
3. Use technology.
Clinicians can use the CLEAR toolkit, which electronically aggregates local resources and identifies which social determinant screenings are appropriate for specific populations, among other innovations. It is possible that such interventions will save clinicians time they can spend with patients, but the authors suggest doing more research on the impact of these technologies in clinical practices.
Date: August 30, 2019
Source: Beckers Hospital Review