Social determinants as a preventive service: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force methods considerations for research
The body of research on social determinants of health is rapidly accumulating. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is conducting evaluations to consider the inclusion of screening and counseling for social risks as a clinical preventive service. Yet, for many social risks, evidence is still likely needed before the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force can recommend universal screening or counseling. This manuscript offers a brief review of the social determinants of health that may be germane to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, the methods the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force uses to evaluate relevant evidence, and current evidence gaps for social risks. Key methods for making clinical preventive service recommendations are applied for considering the integration of social and clinical care. These methods include determining the certainty of the evidence, assessing the net benefit, defining appropriate prevention frameworks, defining health outcomes versus intermediate outcomes, fully assessing the harms, and defining to what populations and care contexts the evidence applies. This road map for research is intended to spark ingenuity and purpose in the next generation of research studies, thereby ensuring that future recommendations to address and prevent social risks in primary care are informed by high-quality evidence.
Supplement information: This article is part of a supplement entitled Identifying and Intervening on Social Needs in Clinical Settings: Evidence and Evidence Gaps, which is sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Kaiser Permanente, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Krist AH, Davidson KW, Ngo-Metzger Q, Mills J. Social determinants as a preventive service: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force methods considerations for research. Am J Prev Med. 2019;57(6):S6-S12. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2019.07.013.