Health Systems Screening for Social Determinants of Health

Health Systems Screening for Social Determinants of Health

Social determinants of health (SDOHs) are the conditions in the environments where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks.1 The social determinants of health are important factors in cancer prevention, screening, and treatment. Recent evidence shows disparities in cancer screening by age, educational status, insurance status, race/ethnicity, income, and geography.2,3  Health systems can screen patients for the social determinants of health to improve their overall health by identifying the patient's nonmedical social needs and connecting them with local community services.

1. Healthy People 2030. Social Determinants of Health.
2. Kurani SS, McCoy RG, Lampman MA, et al. Association of neighborhood measures of social determinants of health with breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening rates in the U.S. Midwest. JAMA network open. 2020;3(3):e200618-e200618
3. Hall IJ, Tangka FKL, Sabatino SA, Thompson TD, Graubard BI, Breen N. Patterns and Trends in Cancer Screening in the United States. Prev Chronic Dis. 2018;15:E97-E97. doi:10.5888/pcd15.170465


The HSCB Communities of Practice project developed resources to support health systems with implementing and improving screening for SDOH.

Health Systems Can Address Patient Needs by Screening for Social Determinants of Health - Guide

Health systems can screen for Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) to identify and address patient needs that may hinder a patient’s on-time completion of cancer prevention and early detection. This guide provides a brief description of SDOH, why it is important for health systems to screen for SDOH and a list of common SDOH screening tools.

Screening for Social Determinants of Health: Health System Assessment Tool

Screening for Social determinants of health (SDOH) can occur across the cancer prevention and screening continuum. This tool offers a brief assessment and resources to review your health system’s current processes and capacity to implement systematic patient screening for SDOH.

Screening for Social Determinants of Health: Health System Assessment Tool (Online)

This online assessment will help your health system to identify strengths and opportunities to address screening for social determinants of health. This version auto-populates your responses and the recommended next steps in a downloadable PDF so you can easily share the results with your team.

By clicking the button below, you agree to share your results with the American Cancer Society. Results will be confidential and stored securely. Participation is voluntary.