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Implementing screening for social determinants of health using the Core 5 screening tool

A. Bradywood, T.S. Leming-Lee, R. Watters, C. Blackmore
BMJ Open Qual

Social determinants of health (SDOH) have been documented to underpin 80% of overall health and are being increasingly recognised as key factors in addressing tertiary health outcomes. Yet, despite the widespread acceptance of the association of SDOH with health outcomes, more than two-thirds of hospitals do not screen for social risk factors that indicate individual-level adverse SDOH. Such screening for social risk factors represents the first step in connecting patients with resources and documents the prevalence of social needs. The aim of this project was to implement the Core 5 social risk screening tool and evaluate its efficacy and usability in identifying social risk factors in a presurgical spine population. Prior to this implementation, screening for social risk had not been performed. The Model for Improvement provided a framework for implementing and evaluating the Core 5 social risk screening tool. Methods included implementation of a patient self-report social risk screening tool, referral workflow to connect patients with needed resources and evaluation of staff feasibility in using the Core 5 tool. The results indicated that the screening tool identified patients with social risk factors and staff reported perceptions of efficacy and usability in clinical workflow. Overall, 52 of 88 (59%) of subjects in the presurgical spine population were effectively screened. Of these, five patients (10%) had identified social needs that needed to be addressed prior to surgery. The staff usability survey for the Core 5 tool demonstrated high acceptance and usability, with an average score of 4.4 (out of 5). Future work should evaluate the efficacy of the screening tool in other ambulatory and tertiary settings.

Bradywood A, Leming-Lee TS, Watters R, Blackmore C. Implementing screening for social determinants of health using the Core 5 screening tool. BMJ Open Qual. 2021 Aug;10(3):e001362. doi: 10.1136/bmjoq-2021-001362. PMID: 34376389.

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Peer Reviewed Research
Provider Experience of Care
Screening research
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Other Study Design