Social Need Screening Tools Comparison Table

The SIREN team has compiled the content of several of the most widely used social health screening tools so that they can be easily compared. The table below summarizes characteristics for each tool, including their intended population or setting, the social health domains they cover, and the number of questions covering each domain. To view a specific screening tool in its entirety, click on the column heading. To compare questions used in different tools for the same domain, click on the row heading. Links inside the table cells will take you directly to the text of those specific questions.

The table below includes screening tools either designed for older adults or that are not age-specific; click here to access a table comparing social needs screening tools developed specifically for pediatric settings.

A note on validity: Inclusion of a tool below does not necessarily mean that the tool or the questions contained therein has been “validated”. While some questions and tools have been developed more rigorously than others and have some early evidence of validity,1-4 validity has many different dimensions (e.g., criterion validity [predictive, convergent], construct [structural]), and none of the tools below has been vetted through all steps of gold standard measure development or had all types of validity assessed. As data about tool validation become available, we will include them in the table below.

If you would like to suggest a tool for inclusion in this table, please contact us.

Download the table (combining adult and pediatric tools) as an Excel file.


  AHC-Tool  HealthBegins  Health Leads MLP IHELLP Medicare Total Health Assessment NAM domains  PRAPARE   WellRx  Your Current Life Situation
 # Social Needs Questions 19 24 10 10 7 12 17 10 19
 # Non-Social Needs Questions 8 4 0 0 30 12 4 1 10
 Patient or Clinic Population Medicare & Medicaid NS NS NS Medicare NS CHCs PC NS
 Reading Level* 7th grade 6th grade 7th grade 6th grade 5th grade 5th grade 7th grade 2nd grade Core: 10th grade; Optional: 7th grade
 Reported Completion Time NR NR NR NR 10 - 20 min. NR approx. 9 min. NR NR
 Languages 10 languages Spanish
 Scoring Y Y N N N N Y N N
 Cost Free Free Free Free Free Free Free Free Free
 Benefits       1          
 Caregiver Responsibilities                 1
 Childcare Access & Affordability     1       1 1 1
 Civic Engagement   1              
 Clothing             1    
 Disabilities 2                
 Education 1 3   1   2 1 1 1
 Employment 1 1   1     1 2  
 Financial Strain 1 2       1     1
 Food Insecurity 2 1 1   2   1 1 3
 Health Care / Medicine Access &   Affordability     1       2   2
 Housing Insecurity / Instability /   Homelessness 1 2 1 2 1   2 1 2
 Housing Quality 1 1   1 1       1
 Immigration / Migrant Status / Refugee     Status   1   2     2    
 Incarceration             1    
 Income       3   1** 1    
 Interpersonal Violence (IPV) 4 4   3   4 1 2 3
 Literacy     1           1
 Neighborhood Safety   1         1 1 1
 Power of Attorney / Guardianship       1          
 Social Support 2 5 1   1 4 1   4
 Stress 1 1     2 1 1   2
 Transportation 1 1 1       1 1 2
 Utilities 1   1       2 1 1
 Veteran Status             1    
 Desire for Assistance / Urgent Needs Integrated into some domains; see domain-specific questions Integrated into "civic engagement"; see domain-specific question 2 Integrated into "Immigration"; see domain-specific question 1     Integrated into some domains; see domain-specific questions 2
 Health Behaviors / Behavioral Health /   Health Status MH, PA, SU DP, PA     DP, HS, MH AA, MH, PA, TU   AA, SA  
*Reading level assessed using the consensus score obtained from
NS = Non-Specified; NR = Not Reported; AU = Alcohol Abuse, DP = Dietary Pattern; DU = Drug Use; HC = Health Confidence; HS = Health/functional status; MH = Mental Health (including depression), PA = Physical Activity, TU = Tobacco Use
1. Hager ER, Quigg AM, Black MM, et al. Development and validity of a 2-item screen to identify families at risk for food insecurity. Pediatrics. 2010;126(1):e26-32.
2. Baer TE, Scherer EA, Fleegler EW, Hassan A. Food insecurity and the burden of health-related social problems in an urban youth population. J Adolesc Health. 2015;57(6):601-607.
3. Gundersen C, Engelhard EE, Crumbaugh AS, Seligman HK. Brief assessment of food insecurity accurately identifies high-risk us adults. Public Health Nutr. 2017;20(8):1367-1371.
4. Institute of Medicine of the National Academies Committee on the Recommended Social and Behavioral Domains and Measures for Electronic Health Records. Capturing social and behavioral domains in electronic health records: Phase 2. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2014.