Back to Evidence & Resource Library

Implementing health related social needs screening in an outpatient clinic

Nohria R, Xiao N, Guardado R, Drainoni ML, Smith C, Nokes K, Byhoff E
J Prim Care Community Health

INTRODUCTION/OBJECTIVES: Health-related social needs (HRSN) screening efforts have reported high rates of identified social needs. Little is known if efforts to conduct HRSN screening in resource-constrained federally-qualified health centers (FQHC) successfully captures a representative patient population. METHODS: This cross-sectional study extracted EMR data from 2016 to 2020 for 4731 screened patients from 7 affiliated clinics of a FQHC. Unscreened patients were pulled as a random sample from the study period. A multivariable logistic regression was used to identify sociodemographic traits, chronic disease diagnoses and burden, and clinic visit type and frequency associated with being screened for HRSN. RESULTS: BHC screened 4731 unique patients or <1% of the total clinic population. Screened patients had a median of 3.3 (±2.5) unmet HRSN. Medicaid patients had higher odds of being screened (aOR = 1.38, CI 1.19-1.61) relative to Medicare patients. The odds of being screened for social needs increased with more provider visits per year: compared to fewer than 1 visit per year, patients with 1 to 3 provider visits (aOR = 2.06, CI 1.73-2.32), 4 to 6 provider visits (aOR = 3.34, CI 2.89-3.87), and more than 6 provider visits (aOR = 5.16, CI 4.35-6.12) all had higher odds of social needs screening. Patients with a higher comorbid disease burden (>2 conditions, aOR = 2.80, CI 2.07-3.79) had higher odds of screening. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings demonstrate an increased likelihood to screen patients who visit outpatient services more often and have a higher comorbid disease burden. To meet state-level Medicaid requirements, resource-constrained FQHCs that implement clinic wide HRSN screening may be well served to identify a priori strategies to ensure representative and equitable screening across the patient population.

Nohria R, Xiao N, Guardado R, et al. Implementing health related social needs screening in an outpatient clinic. J Prim Care Community Health. 2022 Jan-Dec;13:21501319221118809. DOI:10.1177/21501319221118809. PMID: 35978539

View the Resource
Publication year
Resource type
Peer Reviewed Research
Screening research
Social Determinant of Health
Not Specified
Study design
Pre-post without Comparison Group