The time is now: Fostering relationship-centered discussions about patients' social determinants of health

Patient Educ Couns

Objective: This paper discusses the importance of developing best practices in communication strategies to identify and act on social determinants of health (SDOH) in care settings in ways that minimizes shame and builds patient trust in the process.

Discussion: We leverage the relationship-centered care framework to provide health care teams guidance in how to foster meaningful discussions about SDOH at three pivotal points in the process: 1) at the initial screening; 2) once an unmet social need has been identified; and 3) when exchanging SDOH data with team members and external organizations.

Conclusion: This discussion piece uses a relationship-centered framework to offer several evidence-based recommendations for health care systems on how to help their workforce respectfully listen and collaborate with patients to address SDOH. Additional research into patient and provider perceptions of relationship-centered communication surrounding screening and referral practices can help further adapt and refine best practices to maximize chances for addressing patients' SDOH.

Schoenthaler A, Hassan I, Fiscella K. The time is now: Fostering relationship-centered discussions about patients' social determinants of health. Patient Educ Couns. 2018. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 30391299. DOI: 10.1016/j.pec.2018.10.025.

Publication Year: 
2018
Resource Type: 
Commentaries & Blogs
Social Determinant of Health: 
Not Specified
Screening Research: 
Yes