Stories

Providers aren't screening for social determinants of health

Most providers aren't asking their patients about all 5 key social needs that are associated with health outcomes, according to a new study in JAMA Network Open.

Why it matters: "Social needs ... are linked to health outcomes. Identifying patients with unmet social needs is a necessary first step to addressing these needs," the authors write.

  • As they note, as much as 90% of a patient's health outcomes are a result of social, behavioral and economic factors — not medical care.
  • Only 24% of hospitals and 16% of physician practices screened for food insecurity, housing instability, utility needs, transportation needs and interpersonal violence.
  • Some of these needs were screened for more often than others, and most providers screen for at least 1 need.

Go deeper: States are using Medicaid to target social needs