Universal screening for social determinants of health in pediatric sickle cell disease: A quality-improvement initiative

Pediatr Blood Cancer

BACKGROUND: Social determinants of health (SDoH) are socioeconomic factors that influence health outcomes. Guidelines recommend universal screening for SDoH at clinic visits; however, models that do not require additional resources are limited in subspecialty clinics. Individuals with sickle cell disease (SCD) face the burdens of chronic illness and often racial disparities, both of which may increase their vulnerability to adverse SDoH. Hematologists can impact both quality of life and clinical outcomes for their patients by implementing screening and referral programs addressing SDoH. METHODS: Through prospective, quality-improvement methods, we introduced universal screening for SDoH into our pediatric hematology clinic. The intervention was a paper screener followed by a referral to local community organizations for the specific needs endorsed. The aims of this study were to determine the feasibility of universal screening for SDoH in a busy subspeciality clinic using pre-existing resources to identify the needs of our patients and to facilitate referrals between our patients and community organizations via this low touch intervention. RESULTS: Between August 2017 and November 2018, 156 screens were completed. Sixty-six percent were positive for at least one unmet social need for which 80% were referred to a relevant community organization. Forty-five percent of patients available via follow-up phone call reached out to the community organization. CONCLUSIONS: There is a high burden of SDoH in families of children with SCD. Universal screening at a pediatric hematology clinic with the subsequent connection of patients with SCD to community resources is feasible using existing clinic resources.

Power-Hays A, Li S, Mensah A, Sobota A. Universal screening for social determinants of health in pediatric sickle cell disease: a quality-improvement initiative. Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2019:e28006. PMID: 31571379. DOI: 10.1002/pbc.28006.

Publication Year: 
Resource Type: 
Peer Reviewed Research
Study Design: 
Pre-post without Comparison Group
Social Determinant of Health: 
Health Care Access
Housing Stability
Children and Youth
Screening Research: