by: Amy Hulberg, MPP
When Health Leads launched our Social Needs Screening Toolkit in the summer of 2016, it stood as the lone comprehensive blueprint for health systems seeking to identify and screen patients for adverse social determinants of health. Though a number of basic screening templates were available at the time, the need for a fully-developed toolkit was clear. As the healthcare sector has come to embrace the need to address social and environmental factors that drive upwards of 70% of health outcomes, more and more healthcare delivery organizations have adopted patient-centered or whole-person care models. And through Medicare, Medicaid and other regulatory initiatives, federal and state governments have increasingly promoted alternative payment paradigms that incentivize comprehensive care and reward positive outcomes.

Combined, these developments have significantly increased demand for field-tested, up-to-date tools and resources to help health systems launch and scale effective social needs screening initiatives. As the sector advances and best practices evolve, so too have the recommendations put forward in our Screening Toolkit. The 2018 Edition includes a number of necessary updates based on the latest social needs research, lessons learned from long-standing screening programs, and feedback from front-line clinicians and healthcare providers.

The 2018 Social Needs Screening Toolkit includes:

  • Updated language (based on user feedback) to foster more meaningful and effective dialogue between providers and patients around essential needs
  • A fully-translated questionnaire template to remove access barriers for Spanish-speaking patient populations
  • New questions on mental health challenges, such as social isolation, that are known to have a negative impact on overall health
  • New screening questions from PRAPARE and Accountable Health Communities to help further align the sector around common terminology

The revised Social Needs Screening Toolkit combines Health Leads’ 20+ years of experience implementing social needs programs with well researched, clinically-validated guidelines from sector authorities like the Institute of Medicine, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Centers for Disease Control — all in a single how-to guide. Visit our Tools & Resources section to download your copy today, and please don’t hesitate to contact us at for additional support or guidance.

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