Back to Evidence & Resource Library

Social Needs Screening Tool Comparison Table

The SIREN team compiles the content of several of the most widely used social health screening tools to facilitate comparisons. The table below summarizes characteristics for each tool, including information about the intended population or setting, total number of questions, social health domains covered, and domain-specific measures used. To view a specific screening tool in its entirety, click on the column heading. To compare questions used across different tools for the same domain (e.g. food security), click on the row heading. Scroll to the right to see the full table.

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 specific questions or tools have been studied,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. You can find more information about validity studies done on different social risk screening tools by watching this webinar, reading this paper, or visiting the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute website on this topic. As we learn about new tool validation studies, we will add citations to the table below and the SIREN Evidence and Resource Library.

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.

 AAFP-ToolAccess Health: SpartanburgACORN  AHC-ToolArlingtonBMC-Thrive HealthBegins Health LeadsMLP IHELLPMedicare Total Health AssessmentNAM domainsNC Medicaid PRAPARE Structural Vulnerability Assessment Tool WellRx Your Current Life Situation
 # Social  Needs  Questions1510111911112410109121117371019
 # Non-Social  Needs  Questions02808004003012046110
 Patient or  Clinic  PopulationNSNSVeteransMedicare & MedicaidNSNSNSNSNSMedicareNSMedicaidCHCsNSPCNS
 Reading  Level*7th grade5th grade5th grade8th grade10th grade7th grade11th grade6th grade8th gradeCollege6th grade5th grade8th grade6th grade2nd grade9th grade
 Reported  Completion  TimeNRNRNRNRNRNRNRNRNR10 - 20 min.NRNRNRNRNRNR
 Languages            Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Swahili, Vietnamese32 languages Spanish 
 Benefits        1    2  
 Caregiver  Responsibilities               1
 Childcare  Access &  Affordability1      1    1 11
 Civic  Engagement      1         
 Clothing            1   
 Disabilities  2             
 Discrimination             4  
 Education1211 13 1 2 111 
 Employment111 11 1   132 
 Financial  Strain1 11 2   1  3 1
 Food  Insecurity2121311 2 21113
 Health Care /  Medicine  Access &   Affordability 1  1 1    2  2
 Housing  Insecurity /  Instability /   Homelessness1 1122121 22212
 Housing  Quality1 11 1 11   1 1
 Immigration /  Migrant Status  / Refugee     Status     1 2   23  
 Incarceration           11  
 Income 1     3 1** 1   
 Interpersonal  Violence (IPV)4 42 4 3 431123
 Literacy 2    1     3 1
 Neighborhood  Safety     1     1411
 Power of  Attorney /  Guardianship       11      
 Social Support  21 51 24 12 5
 Stress  1  1  21 1  2
 Transportation1 11111   11 12
 Utilities1 111 1   12 11
 Veteran Status 2         1   
 Workplace  Safety            2  
 Desire for  Assistance /  Urgent Needs1 Integrated into some domains; see domain-specific questions2Integrated into “food security” domainIntegrated into "civic engagement"; see domain-specific question2Integrated into "Immigration"; see domain-specific question1 2 Integrated into “Benefits” domainIntegrated into some domains; see domain-specific questions2
 Health  Behaviors /  Behavioral  Health /   Health Status  MH, PA, SU  DP, PA  AU,DP, HS, MH, PA, TUAA, 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.
Publication year
Screening research
SIREN Resources