Screening for social determinants of health among children: Patients' preferences for receiving information to meet social needs and a comparison of screening instruments

Popul Health Manag

To characterize optimal strategies for screening for social determinants of health (SDOH) among children, the authors performed a cross-sectional study of parents and adolescents ages ≥13 years in a community health center. Participants were queried about how they prefer to receive information about social needs resources and 2 screening instruments were compared: Well Child Care, Evaluation, Community Resources, Advocacy, Referral, Education (WE CARE) and Accountable Health Communities (AHC). In July 2019, 154 parents and 21 adolescents were surveyed. Surveys were administered via tablet and required 5.6 minutes (standard deviation [SD] 3.9 minutes) for parents and 3.9 minutes (SD 1.4 minutes) for adolescents to complete. Parents identified technology (text message, email) and informational printouts as preferred mechanisms for information receipt (58% and 32% of participants, respectively); adolescents preferred text message (57%) and printouts (19%). Few (<10% overall) preferred in-person consultation with a care coordinator. Adolescent/parent pairs (n = 19 pairs) agreed, on average across SDOH, 82% of the time for WE CARE and 85% for AHC. AHC elicited more positive screens than WE CARE for housing insecurity (12% of parents versus 7%) and food insecurity (47% versus 16%) but fewer positive screens than WE CARE for difficulties paying for utilities (27% versus 39%). Routine screening for SDOH in children requires 2–3 minutes per screening instrument. Screening can target parents of young children and either adolescents themselves or their parents. Families prefer to receive information about meeting social needs via technologically-based methods as opposed to in-person consultation with enabling services providers.

Oldfield BJ, Casey M, DeCew A, Morales SI, Olson DP. Screening for social determinants of health among children: patients' preferences for receiving information to meet social needs and a comparison of screening instruments [published online ahead of print, 2020 Feb 25]. Popul Health Manag. 2020;10.1089/pop.2019.0211. PMID: 32096695. DOI: 10.1089/pop.2019.0211.

Publication Year: 
2020
Resource Type: 
Peer Reviewed Research
Study Design: 
Other Study Design
Social Determinant of Health: 
Food/Hunger
Health Care Access
Housing Stability
Utilities
Population: 
Children and Youth
Screening Research: 
Yes