IHA Playbook

Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) Screening in Emergency Departments



Linking the community and clinical sectors have proven to be effective with preventing and controlling chronic disease and addressing Social Determinants of Health (SDoH).

Healthcare care professionals have the opportunity to work with community based organizations to establish partnerships that addresses the clinical, behavioral, and social factors that impact a patient’s health and improve the health and wellness of the community. The ED is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and is a place patients can seek medical care regardless of acuity or payment status.

The ED treats a community’s most vulnerable patients. Implementing a screening and referral process to impact a patient’s SDoH while they are seen in the ED provides a comprehensive care approach that will support patients when they return to the community.

This playbook will walk your hospital ED through steps to successfully implement a SDoH screening process to support patients in your community.


The Cast of Characters

The storyline behind the Playbook involves these wonderful people, places and organizations

Illinois Health and Hospital Association

Through the Hospital Improvement Innovation Network (HIIN), IHA worked with the Westside ConnectED coalition to support SDoH screening in hospitals, and create the implementation playbook that will be used to spread the successes of this work to other communities.

Catholic Charities

With the focus on supporting community
members and outreach initiatives, Catholic Charities leads and facilitates the Westside ConnectED work. Catholic Charities bridges the gap between clinical and community-based care.

Westside ConnectED Coalition

As part of the Westside ConnectED coalition, four hospitals on the west side of Chicago work to screen ED patients for SDoH. These hospitals work with community based organizations to ensure patients receive resources through a model that promotes health equity.

What Have we Achieved?

Below is a snapshot of some of the statistics that we’ve seen as a result of implementing this playbook:

AMITA Health


of the patients screened to date indicated at least one need



weekly emergency department screens for social needs.



of the patients that screened positive expressed their highest needs are lack of primary care provider, lack of insurance and food insecurity.



of the patient’s we’ve screened have declined to answer the screening questions.

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