Article: Why it is important to take a patient’s social history

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

By Chén Kenyon, Megan Sandel, Michael Silverstein, Alefiya Shakir, & Barry Zuckerman Pediatrics

This article suggests that medical care must evolve to include screening for selective social factors into clinical practice to augment public health and social policy changes. Since it is becoming clearer that social determinants of health produce health disparities and there are more interventions to mitigate them, it will be increasingly important to educate physicians on their relevance to clinical practice. The authors make the case for taking an improved social history, especially in children, although similar cases can be made for adults. This article is the first published reference to the I-HELP social needs screening acronym used by many medical-legal partnerships.