New Screening Tool Helps Determine Nonmedical Barriers to Health > Hospital Association of Pennsylvania


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New Screening Tool Helps Determine Nonmedical Barriers to Health

June 10, 2019

Addressing critical social determinants—conditions in which people are born, learn, live, work, and play—is one of the first steps to eliminating disparities, improving health outcomes, and reducing costs. The American Hospital Association (AHA) recently released Screening for Social Needs: Guiding Care Teams to Engage Patients, a tool to help hospitals and health systems facilitate sensitive conversations with patients about their nonmedical needs that may be a barrier to good health. 

The tool includes information about:

  • Challenges in screening for social needs
  • Guiding principles for screening
  • Implementing social needs screening
  • Patient-centered conversations about social needs
  • Referral process for positive screens
  • Tailoring screenings
  • Strategies to scale screenings

Information about the Medical Student Advocacy Program, a partnership of HAP member Lankenau Medical Center, part of Main Line Health, and Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine is included in the guide.

A survey of 500 U.S. health care consumers found patients often report challenges with social determinants of health. The survey was done by Waystar, a revenue cycle technology provider.

Last month, HAP convened a group of leaders on the front lines of initiatives aimed at addressing the economic and social conditions that impact health. HAP’s collaborative kicked off an association-wide priority to identify strategies for addressing at least two of these social determinants of health, which will largely be focused on housing and food insecurity, by the end of this year.

In addition, HAP’s 2019 Leadership Summit kicked off last month with a special preconference focused on this important topic.

Additional resources about social determinants of health are available on the AHA website. For additional information about HAP’s efforts, or to become involved in population health initiatives, please contact Robert Shipp, HAP’s vice president, quality and population health.

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