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Exploring Social Determinants of Health Assessments and Community Relationships Among Western Pennsylvania Hospitals

Borkar, Kiran (2020) Exploring Social Determinants of Health Assessments and Community Relationships Among Western Pennsylvania Hospitals. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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Over the past several decades, the United States have been at the frontline of medical innovation to combat complex health problems. However, the current healthcare system results in several gaps within the arena of population health, such as high cases of preventable deaths, dramatic disparities in illness between different racial populations, and steep out of pocket costs. One method of combating these problems is through an increased focus on social determinants of health (SDoH) - such as housing, transportation, and nutrition - and cross-sector relationships. While traditional health systems have not concentrated on SDoH, many have launched interventions to assess broader public health factors. However, there is limited research on these interventions and what data hospital systems collect.
The current study, therefore, uses a mixed-methods approach to explore social needs assessments and community partnerships in Western Pennsylvania hospitals. An online survey (via Qualtrics) was sent to Chief Nursing Officers at regional hospitals. The survey focused on nine determinants of health, such as transportation, education, and interpersonal violence. Based on survey responses, follow-up interviews were completed to examine relationships between hospitals and community organizations that connect patients to essential services.
Results from 17 respondents displayed that the majority of hospitals have social determinants screenings as part of standard or needs-based procedures. Interviews further indicated that of hospitals referring patients to community services, most have collaborative interventions with organizations that incorporate social determinants of health. Many hospitals, however, do not track outcomes once patients access community services. Future studies should therefore research barriers hospitals encounter when tracking patients, and if health outcomes improve once patients gain social needs services.

Public Health Significance: Providing SDoH programs in hospitals not only helps patients access essential social needs, but it also allows providers to understand larger population health problems and disparities that occur in the community. As a result, patients can be supplied with effective treatment plans, and improve their health status. If this concept were applied to large populations, broader public health objectives can be reached. This includes achieving health equity and reducing disparities among vulnerable populations.

Key words: Social determinants of health, hospitals, social needs, community organizations, partnerships


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Borkar, Kirankab319@pitt.edukab319
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairBraund, Wendywendy.braund@pitt.eduwendy.braund@pitt.eduUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberElias, Thistle Ielias@pitt.eduelias@pitt.eduUNSPECIFIED
Centers: Other Centers, Institutes, Offices, or Units > Center for Public Health Practice
Date: 16 April 2020
Date Type: Submission
Number of Pages: 53
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Health Policy & Management
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Date Deposited: 26 Aug 2020 18:35
Last Modified: 26 Aug 2020 18:35


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