Tracking Social Determinants of Health

The New Jersey Health Foundation recently awarded the Foundation $35,000 to support University Hospital’s Healthy Start Initiative, “Equity Starts Here”. This project will transform OB/GYN care through social needs screening to significantly help University Hospital’s ability to address needs for each OB/GYN patient though hospital-based programs and referrals to community-based organizations. The project’s pivotal goal is to reduce the Infant Mortality Rate in Essex County through enhanced screening technology that collects, analyzes, and tracks Social Determinants of Health for OB/GYN patients before, during and after pregnancy. The data gathered through this project will be used to help guide the hospital’s strategic plan to integrate informed clinical care with the social needs of the patients. Social determinants of health include economic stability, neighborhood and built environment, and access to food, housing, quality education, quality healthcare, and social and community factors. Information gathered during the screening process will enable staff to understand the patient’s social needs, provide referrals to Hospital programs and/or vetted community-based organizations, and to track and evaluate each patient’s social needs as they change throughout the patient’s continuum of care, ultimately increasing the overall health and well-being of each patient.