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Social determinants of health are socioeconomic factors that can influence health outcomes. Patients with sickle cell disease (SCD) are disproportionately affected by negative social determinants. This study, published in Pediatric Blood & Cancer, focuses on the impact of a screening and referral program in addressing social determinants of health in children with SCD. 

The screening protocol involved in this study was a questionnaire given to patients in a pediatric hematology clinic. This intervention allowed for direct referral to local community organizations to address patient needs. The study’s goal was to determine the feasibility of integrating this type of intervention program into the workflow of a busy specialty clinic. Ultimately, 80% of patients with unmet social needs were referred to community organizations, and 45% followed up on these referrals.

The researchers found that implementing this type of intervention program was feasible without having to expand the resources available to the clinic. Because nearly two-thirds of the patients screened positive for at least one social determinant of health, they recommend that such programs be implemented on a larger scale [1].


[1] Power‐Hays, A., Li, S., Mensah, A., & Sobota, A. (2019). Universal screening for social determinants of health in pediatric sickle cell disease: A quality‐improvement initiative. Pediatric Blood & Cancer, 67(1). https://doi.org/10.1002/pbc.28006

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