Learning clinical social determinants of health assessment tool may encourage learners to inquire about the social backgrounds of their patients to improve their attitude. Learners may accept a pre-defined question set to ask patients about their social backgrounds. Learners did not report clinical concerns about the implementation of practice related to SDoH.
The specific dimensions of learners that have been impacted by educational programs related to social determinants of health (SDoH) remain unknown. This study aims to elucidate how learners are affected by postgraduate education (a single 90-min educational session) regarding tool-guided clinical assessment of patients’ social backgrounds.
A pretest-posttest design was utilized in which residents (postgraduate year (PGY) 1 or 2) and fellows in family medicine (PGY over 3) were recruited. Likert-type questions were developed based on previous qualitative findings. Participants answered these questions before, immediately after, and 1.5 months after the educational session on tool-guided clinical SDoH assessment. Paired-sample t-tests were used, and effect size was measured using Cohen’s d.
A total of 114 residents and fellows participated. After the session, participants expressed more interest in knowing their patients’ social backgrounds when considering how to address their patients and were more open to embracing a pre-established assessment framework. Participants also considered clinical skills related to SDoH as learnable and improved their attitude toward patients. They reported that they did not perform specific interventions related to SDoH within 1.5 months after the session. Unlike previous qualitative findings, their concern about the implementation of SDoH-related practices did not increase significantly.
An educational session on tool-guided SDoH assessment may have a positive impact on learners’ attitudes related to addressing patients’ social backgrounds without fostering concerns.