Nav: Home

BU finds screenings for social determinants of health need to be tailored to clinics

May 13, 2019

Study of community health centers in Boston finds great deal of variation in practice, as well as in provider and staff opinions about what helps or hinders the process.

An estimated 70 percent of the variation in healthcare outcomes is attributable to social determinants----but it is only in recent years that healthcare settings have begun formally looking at these factors to better understand and treat patients. A new study co-authored by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers and published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine finds that these social determinant screening systems need to be tailored to individual clinics.

"There was little agreement about whether provider perspectives, work flow, prior experience, site resources and staffing, and sustainability were barriers or facilitators for implementing the screening, because they were all seen as barriers and facilitators depending on the respondent," says study senior author Dr. Mari-Lynn Drainoni, research professor of health law, policy & management at BUSPH. "This suggests that tailoring processes and including staff and providers in implementation decisions may overcome issues with time, work flow, and knowledge."

For the mixed-methods study, the researchers looked at the social-risk screening practices at 13 Center for Community Health Education Research and Service (CCHERS) Boston community health centers. They analyzed all of the screening materials from the 13 centers, and conducted focus groups with nine physicians, three nurses, and 14 medical assistants from three centers that had participated in a pilot screening and referral program.

They found that, while all of the community health centers were screening for social determinants, they were not all screening for the same ones, or screening for the same determinants in their adult patients and in pediatric patients. The average health center only screened for 8 of the 16 domains in the pilot's standardized screening, and housing was the only domain included in the screenings of all 13 centers.

The authors noted that perspectives in the focus groups mostly differed from center to center, rather than between providers and staff.
-end-
About Boston University School of Public Health:

Founded in 1976, the school offers master's- and doctoral-level education in public health. The faculty in six departments conduct policy-changing public health research around the world, with the mission of improving the health of populations--especially the disadvantaged, underserved, and vulnerable--locally, nationally, and internationally.

Boston University School of Medicine

Related Public Health Articles:

The Lancet Public Health: Ageism linked to poorer health in older people in England
Ageism may be linked with poorer health in older people in England, according to an observational study of over 7,500 people aged over 50 published in The Lancet Public Health journal.
Study: Public transportation use linked to better public health
Promoting robust public transportation systems may come with a bonus for public health -- lower obesity rates.
Bloomberg American Health Initiative releases special public health reports supplement
With US life expectancy now on the decline for two consecutive years, the Bloomberg American Health Initiative is releasing a supplement to Public Health Reports, the scholarly journal of the US Surgeon General.
Data does the heavy lifting: Encouraging new public health approaches to promote the health benefits of muscle-strengthening exercise (MSE)
According to a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, almost 75 percent of US adults do not comply with public health guidelines recommending two or more muscle-strengthening exercise (MSE) sessions a week, with nearly 60 percent of the population doing no MSE at all.
The Lancet Public Health: Moderate carbohydrate intake may be best for health
Low-carb diets that replace carbohydrates with proteins and fats from plant sources associated with lower risk of mortality compared to those that replace carbohydrates with proteins and fat from animal sources.
More Public Health News and Public Health Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...