From Screening to the Receipt of Services: A Qualitative Examination

Antoinette M. Schoenthaler, Rebecca P. Gallager, Sue A. Kaplan, Kathleen A. Hopkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Research has focused on developing methods to facilitate screening and tracking data on social risk factors in healthcare settings. Less is known about the multiple factors that shape patients’ acceptance of healthcare-based social risk programs. This qualitative study sought to elucidate the multilevel (individual, interpersonal, family/community, system, policy) factors that influence patients’ acceptance of a healthcare-based social risk program within a Federally Qualified Health Center in New York City. Methods: Participants included 5 patients receiving care at the Federally Qualified Health Center who screened positive for social risks, 4 nurses who are responsible for conducting social risk screenings, and 5 Family Support Services counselors who conduct outreach to patients who screened positive. Interviews were conducted from March to June 2021 and analyzed from July to September 2021 using the constant comparative method. Results: Analyses of the transcripts identified the following 3 themes: (1) Patients appreciated being asked about social risk factors, but there was a mismatch between their understanding of the screening process, their desire for assistance, and the support received. Although nurses and counselors described relationship-centered approaches to involve patients in the process, patients reported feeling initial discomfort and confusion; (2) Multilevel barriers inhibit patients’ acceptance of assistance; and (3) Patient trust in the physician and healthcare organization serves as facilitators to acceptance. Conclusions: Patients’ views about the purpose of a healthcare-based social risk program differed from nurses’ and counselors’ perspectives of the process. Although patients face multilevel challenges, strong trust in the physician and Family Health Centers served as facilitators to accepting healthcare-based assistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S144-S151
JournalAmerican journal of preventive medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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