Resident Documentation of Social Determinants of Health: Effects of a Teaching Tool in the Outpatient Setting

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Abstract

Social determinants of health (SDH) significantly affect the health of children and thus, screening is important in pediatric primary care. We assessed the use of a formal social history taking tool after a 2-phase intervention. The first phase (P1) was a teaching module describing SDH and community resources and the second phase (P2) consisted of visual reminders to use the tool. Patient charts (n = 322) were reviewed pre- and postintervention. Residents had higher documentation rates of Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program use and housing subsidies at post-P1 and at post-P(1 + 2) (WIC, P = .01 and P = .03, respectively; housing, P = .02 and P = .04, respectively), and higher documentation rates of food stamp utilization at post-P(1 + 2) (P = .04), as compared with baseline. Implementation of a simple teaching tool in the outpatient setting enabled residents to document income benefits and housing. Further studies should be done to evaluate effective teaching methods to elicit other important SDH.

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