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Illustrating the value of social work: results of an open pilot trial of the psychosocial acuity scale in a large urban pediatric hospital
Social Work in Health Care  (IF1.602),  Pub Date : 2021-05-17, DOI: 10.1080/00981389.2021.1926398
Paige Sable, Abigail Ross, Annie Clock, Brooke Corder, Nicole Lamontagne, Jessica McCaig, Susan Shanske, Matthew Tvedte, Jennifer Cummings, Pamela Chamorro


While Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) are an important mechanism used to document patient information and service provision, most interfaces prioritize collection of information required for medical billing purposes, rather than complexities of behavioral and social service needs. An emphasis on encounter data renders it challenging for social workers (SWs) to communicate statistically compelling explanations of contributions to team-based care and overall value to the health system. This paper reports outcomes of feasibility, acceptability, and appropriateness of integrating a validated psychosocial acuity metric into standardized social work (SW) documentation at a large, pediatric quaternary hospital in the northeastern United States. Approximately 20% (N = 42) of departmental SWs participated in an open pilot trial wherein participants were first trained in scale administration, utilized it for a circumscribed period following training, and evaluated implementation outcomes. Across five unique practice settings, results showed that the metric was feasible, acceptable and appropriate for use; 78% of participants were in favor of integrating it into the EMR interface as a required component of SW documentation. Assessing psychosocial acuity in every documented patient encounter facilitates intermittent review of psychosocial acuity at individual, setting, and programmatic levels and opportunities to evaluate how SW interventions address psychosocial acuity.