Importance: Health care organizations are increasingly incorporating social risk screening into patient care. Studies have reported wide variations in patients' interest in receiving health care-based assistance for identified social risks. However, no study to date has examined the factors associated with patients' interest in receiving assistance, including whether interest in receiving assistance varies based on specific patient demographic characteristics. Targeted research on this topic could improve the success of health care-based programs that offer social care services.
Objective: To identify participant characteristics associated with interest in receiving health care-based social risk assistance.
Design, setting, and participants: This cross-sectional study was conducted in 7 primary care clinics and 4 emergency departments in 9 US states between July 2, 2018, and February 13, 2019. A convenience sample of adult patients and adult caregivers of pediatric patients completed a screening survey that measured social risk factors and participants' interest in receiving assistance for identified social risks. Participants were randomly selected to receive 1 of 2 versions of the survey, which differed based on the order in which questions about social risks and interest in receiving assistance were presented. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were used to evaluate the associations between covariates and participants' interest in receiving assistance, stratified by social risk screening results. Data were analyzed from September 8, 2019, to July 30, 2020.
Exposures: Social risk screening questions assessed risk factors comprising housing, food, transportation, utilities, and exposure to interpersonal violence. Additional questions assessed participants' interest in receiving assistance and their perspectives on health care-based social risk screening.
Main outcomes and measures: Participant interest in receiving health care-based social risk assistance.
Results: A total of 1021 adult participants with complete survey responses were included in the analysis. Of those, 709 of 1004 participants (70.6%) were female, and 544 of 1007 participants (54.0%) were aged 18 to 44 years. Overall, 353 of 662 participants (53.3%) with positive screening results for 1 or more social risk factors were interested in receiving assistance, whereas 31 of 359 participants (8.6%) with negative screening results for all social risks were interested in receiving assistance. Participants with positive screening results for 1 or more social risk factors had a higher likelihood of being interested in receiving assistance if they answered the question about interest in receiving assistance before they answered the questions about social risk factors (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.48; 95% CI, 1.05-2.07), had positive screening results for a higher number of social risk factors (aOR, 2.40; 95% CI, 1.68-3.42), reported lower household income levels (aOR, 7.78; 95% CI, 2.96-20.44), or self-identified as having non-Hispanic Black ancestry (aOR, 2.22; 95% CI, 1.37-3.60). Among those with negative screening results for all social risk factors, the interest in receiving assistance was higher if the participants reported lower household income levels (aOR, 12.38; 95% CI, 2.94-52.15), previous exposure to health care-based social risk screening (aOR, 2.35; 95% CI, 1.47-3.74), higher perceived appropriateness of social risk screening (aOR, 3.69; 95% CI, 1.08-12.55), or worse health status (aOR, 4.22; 95% CI, 1.09-16.31).
Conclusions and relevance: In this study, multiple factors were associated with participants' interest in receiving social risk assistance. These findings may have implications for how and when social risk assistance is offered to patients. As the health care system's role in addressing social risk factors evolves, an understanding of patients' perspectives regarding screening and their interest in receiving assistance may be important to implementing patient-centered interventions.