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

Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2018 Apr;57(4):451-456. doi: 10.1177/0009922817728697. Epub 2017 Sep 7.


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.

Keywords: medical education; social determinants of health.

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Curriculum
  • Documentation / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency / methods*
  • Male
  • New York
  • Outpatients*
  • Pediatrics / education*
  • Pediatrics / methods
  • Primary Health Care / methods
  • Social Determinants of Health*
  • Socioeconomic Factors