3 Tools to Screen for Social Determinants of Health

As more healthcare systems start to screen patients for social determinants of health (SDoH), we at Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio are spotlighting why screening for SDoH is so important to improve health outcomes, especially among Latinos.

Today, we are sharing three SDoH screening tools that can help address social needs, or the non-medical barriers to health, of Latinos and all patients.

You can use these screening tools – questionnaires that gather information from patients – in your healthcare facility or use them as inspiration to create your own screening tool.

Let’s dive into these health-changing tools!

The Protocol for Responding to and Assessing Patients’ Assets, Risks, and Experiences (PRAPARE®)

Updated in 2022, PRAPARE® helps health centers and other providers better understand their patients’ social needs and how to meet those needs.

PRAPARE® is available in over 25 different languages and includes questions about the patients’ family and home environment, money and resources, social and emotional health, and more.

PRAPARE® was developed by the National Association of Community Health Centers, the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations, the Oregon Primary Care Association, and the Institute for Alternative Futures.

Download PRAPARE®!

You can also use the PRAPARE® Implementation and Action Toolkit to learn how to implement PREPARE® in your facility.

American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) Social Needs Screening Tool

AAFP developed its screening tool in 2018 as part of the EveryONE Project, which aims to advance health equity in all communities.

The screening tool is available in English and is designed to be implemented by a variety of healthcare professionals, including receptionists/medical assistants, family physicians, nurses, physician assistants, health educators, and community health workers.

Topics covered in the screening tool include housing, transportation, food, childcare, employment, finances, and personal safety.

Download AAFP’s Social Needs Screening Tool

Learn more about AAFP’S Social Needs Screening Tool

Kaiser Permanente’s Your Current Life Situation (YCLS) Survey

Kaiser Permanente, a healthcare company, created the YCLS survey in 2018 to measure a range of economic needs, including access to affordable housing, food, childcare, medical and dental care, and transportation.

The 32-question survey also explores social needs, such as patient stress levels, caregiving responsibilities, and social support systems.

The survey can be administered verbally, on paper, or electronically in English.

Download the scored survey (yellow highlights indicate responses that are positive for social needs, meaning the patient may benefit from additional resources, such as a referral, advice, or an alteration of care.)

Download the non-scored survey

Why Screen for Social Determinants of Health (SDoH)?

SDoH are the conditions in which we are born, grow, live, work, and age.Why screen for SDoH

These non-medical factors can impact our ability to live a healthy life, including access to healthy food, transportation to maintain employment, and affordable medication.

These non-medical barriers to health are called social needs. If not addressed, social needs can cause and worsen health conditions.

“SDoH, including the effects of centuries of racism, are key drivers of health inequities within communities of color,” according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. “The impact is pervasive and deeply embedded in our society, creating inequities in access to a range of social and economic benefits – such as housing, education, wealth, and employment. These inequities put people at higher risk of poor health.”

Fortunately, when patients are screened for social needs at their medical appointments, healthcare providers can identify ways to address those needs and their root causes, ultimately improving health outcomes and reducing healthcare costs.

How Can You Shape Local Social Determinants of Health (SDoH)?

Select your county and get a Health Equity Report Card by Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio.

In your report card, you will see maps, data, and gauges to compare social determinants of health and public health issues to the rest of your state and nation.

You can email your Health Equity Report Card to local leaders to stimulate community change. You can also Use the data in your materials or share on social media to raise awareness about the importance of SDoH screening.

Get your Health Equity Report Card!


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