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Social Risks, Social Needs, and Attitudes Toward Social Health Screening 1 Year Into the COVID-19 Pandemic: Survey of Adults in an Integrated Health Care Delivery System

Introduction Information about demographic differences in social risks, needs, and attitudes toward social health screening in non-highly vulnerable adult populations is lacking. Methods The authors analyzed data for 2869 Kaiser Permanente Northern California non-Medicaid-covered members aged 35 to 85 who responded to a 2021 English-only mailed/online survey. The survey covered 7 social risk and 11 social needs domains and attitudes toward social health screening. The authors used data weighted to the Kaiser Permanente Northern California membership to estimate prevalence of risks, needs, and screening receptivity in the overall population, by race/ethnicity (White, Black, Latinx, Asian American/Pacific Islander) and age (35-65 years old, 66-85 years old). Multivariable regression was used to evaluate differences between groups. Results Overall, 26% of adults were financially strained, 12% food insecure, 12% housing insecure, and 5% transportation insecure. Additionally, 7%, 8%, and 17% had difficulty paying for utilities, medical expenses, and dental care, respectively. Over 40% of adults wanted help with ≥ 1 social need. Dental care, vision/hearing care, paying for medical expenses and utilities, and managing debt/credit card repayment surpassed food, housing, and transportation needs. Prevalence of social risks and needs was generally higher among middle-aged versus older and Black and Latinx versus White adults. Among the 70% of adults receptive to screening, 85% were willing to complete a questionnaire and 40% were willing to have staff ask questions; 18% did not want to be screened. Conclusion When implementing social health screening in diverse patient populations, the prevalence of social risks and needs, as well as the acceptability of social health screening and screening modalities, will vary among demographic subgroups.

Authors: Gordon, Nancy P;Shanks, Carmen Byker;Grant, Richard W

Perm J. 2023 Jun 15;27(2):61-74. Epub 2023-04-17.

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