“Addressing the bigger picture”: A qualitative study of internal medicine patients’ perspectives on social needs data collection and use
Researchers interviewed eighteen patients in the general internal medicine inpatient unit at St. Michael’s Hospital to understand their thoughts on sociodemographic (e.g., race, sexual orientation, gender identity) and social needs (e.g., financial needs, financial needs, housing) data collection. Results showed that while patients generally support the collection of sociodemographic data in hospitals, they have varied opinions on whether hospital staff should intervene to address social needs. Patients described a gap between their ideal care, which would attend to social needs, versus the reality that hospital-based teams are faced with competing priorities and pressures that may make it unfeasible to provide such care. However, patients also conveyed that the data collection could facilitate more holistic, integrated care and foster social change.