Hospitals are increasingly called to understand and address the social drivers of health (also known as social determinants of health – SDOH for short) for their patients and communities. It is a concept we are learning more about each day. We realize that much of what affects our patients’ health happens well before they step through our doors. Properly being able to identify some of these factors can help us provide better and more efficient care that can solve the root cause of illness and not just the symptoms. Recognizing this, CMS, the Joint Commission, and others are now requiring hospitals to screen for and address SDOH.  

One way to better understand the social and economic factors that influence your patients’ health is to use a screening tool to ask individuals about their needs. Knowing where to start and what tool is right for your organization can be tricky, though. That’s why we’ve come up with this handy guide of considerations to help make the selection hopefully a little easier.  

What to consider when reviewing different SDOH screening tools 

  1. Does it align with your organization’s needs and goals? Will the tool fit with your strategy and mission? Would it help you achieve your goals related to SDOH screening for SDOH, and will it help you collect the information you need? 
  1. What resources already exist within your organization? Consider the tools that already exist in your organization—for example, some units may already be testing SDOH screening as part of pilot or grant-funded programs. Consider also whether your EHR has built-in screening tools that would meet your needs.  
  1. Does it meet CMS & Joint Commission Requirements? Many regulators, accreditors, and payers are now requiring screening for social drivers of health or health-related social needs. These requirements are similar but not exactly the same, so be sure to cross-check which questions are required, and ensure the tool you select aligns.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to select an SDOH screening tool that works for your patients and your organization, check out our FREE 5-minute mini-course on this topic. Our instructor, Natalie, walks you through different factors to consider when selecting the tool, resources for SDOH, and additional insights from other key players regarding SDOH screening tools.  

Sign up for the FREE SDOH screening tool course here