Social Determinants of Health: Developing & Implementing a Practical Toolkit for the Primary Care Setting

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Clary, Erin
Hensleigh, Shannon
Shmalberg, Lauren
Washburn University
School of Nursing
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The Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) are preventable differences experienced by socially disadvantaged populations across the world. These differences, specifically Education, Healthcare Access and Quality, Economic Stability, Social and Community Context, and Neighborhood and Built Environment, can prevent individuals from achieving their optimal health (Healthy People 2030, n.d.). Healthcare providers at two primary care clinics in Topeka, KS did not routinely inquire about a patient’s SDoH-related needs. Additionally, a review of literature found that there is no “gold standard” for screening for SDoH. This quality-improvement project was created to assess healthcare provider perceptions and attitudes regarding screening for SDoH, as well as to design and implement a novel screening tool for SDoH in the primary care setting. Additionally, a toolkit was constructed to give providers recommendations on appropriate follow-up and connect patients with resources at the point-of-care. Patients were screened for SDoH-related needs in the clinics from March - August 2021. Patient concerns regarding medication affordability, safety in their neighborhood, and lack of social support systems were prominent themes, which correlated with the literature. Providers reported improved confidence with implementing the screening tool and increased awareness of strategies to meet individual patient care needs from the provided toolkit.