Engagement in a Social Needs Navigation Program and Health Care Utilization in Pediatric Primary Care



      Evidence for social needs interventions on resource linkage has grown over the past decade. Though social and economic needs predict health care utilization, few studies have assessed social needs interventions on these outcomes. The objective of this study was to examine the association between enrollment in a clinic-based social needs program on subsequent well-child visit (WCV) attendance and emergency department (ED) use in 2 primary care clinics.


      A retrospective cohort study was conducted of patients in 2 clinics referred to a social risk screening and navigation program between June and August 2018. We compared health care utilization over the subsequent 12 months for those who completed a full intake and received resource navigation (enrolled) to those referred (not enrolled). Logistic regression was used to assess the association between enrollment with WCV attendance and ED visits.


      During the study period, of the 969 patients referred to the program, 761 were enrolled across the 2 clinics. At both sites, the majority of enrolled patients had high WCV attendance postintervention (Site A: 81.6%, Site B: 71.4%). High WCV attendance for nonenrolled but referred patients was significantly lower (Site A: 52.7%, Site B: 35.0%). Enrolled participants were significantly more likely to have high WCV attendance than nonenrolled patients, adjusting for preintervention utilization (Site A adjusted odds ratio [aOR]: 5.83, Site B aOR : 4.20). There were no significant differences in ED use at either clinic.


      Addressing families’ social needs through resource linkage and navigation can improve WCV attendance.


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