Multiple behavior change intervention to improve detection of unmet social needs and resulting resource referrals

Acad Pediatr

Objective: It is critical that pediatric residents learn to effectively screen families for active and addressable social needs (ie, negative social determinants of health). We sought to determine 1) whether a brief intervention teaching residents about IHELP, a social needs screening tool, could improve resident screening, and 2) how accurately IHELP could detect needs in the inpatient setting.

Methods: During an 18-month period, interns rotating on 1 of 2 otherwise identical inpatient general pediatrics teams were trained in IHELP. Interns on the other team served as the comparison group. Every admission history and physical examination (H&P) was reviewed for IHELP screening. Social work evaluations were used to establish the sensitivity and specificity of IHELP and document resources provided to families with active needs. During a 21-month postintervention period, every third H&P was reviewed to determine median duration of continued IHELP use.

Results: A total of 619 admissions met inclusion criteria. Over 80% of intervention team H&Ps documented use of IHELP. The percentage of social work consults was nearly 3 times greater on the intervention team than on the comparison team (P < .001). Among H&Ps with documented use of IHELP, specificity was 0.96 (95% confidence interval 0.87-0.99) and sensitivity was 0.63 (95% confidence interval 0.50-0.73). Social work provided resources for 78% of positively screened families. The median duration of screening use by residents after the intervention was 8.1 months (interquartile range 1-10 months).

Conclusions: A brief intervention increased resident screening and detection of social needs, leading to important referrals to address those needs.

Colvin JD, Bettenhausen JL, Anderson-Carpenter KD, et al. Multiple behavior change intervention to improve detection of unmet social needs and resulting resource referrals. Acad Pediatr. 2016;16(2):168-174. PMID: 26183003. DOI: 10.1016/j.acap.2015.06.001.

Publication Year: 
2016
Resource Type: 
Peer Reviewed Research
Study Design: 
Other Study Design
Social Determinant of Health: 
Economic Security
Education/Literacy
Food/Hunger
Health Care Access
Housing Quality
Housing Stability
Immigration
Legal Services
Violence/Safety
Population: 
Children and Youth
Health Care Professionals
Outcomes: 
Process
Provider Experience of Care
Screening Research: 
Yes