Professional case managers are responsible to conduct education, counseling, and other interventions that address the unique needs and gaps of the patients and families they serve. Social determinants of health (SDH) can impact barriers to patient care and outcomes that may go undetected among underserved populations without reliable data. This article describes an implementation science study using patient and provider-informed data and designed interventions to mitigate barriers in SDH related to hepatitis B virus (HBV).
Case managers and other health care team members in community health clinics examined discordances in their own patients’ and providers’ beliefs about patients’ barriers to HBV care. Data were then used to help identify and engage unique strategies in education, counseling, and clinic outreach to improve outcomes in HBV and lessen barriers to care among at-risk minority populations.
Findings from data and information conducted among the clinic patients and health care team members revealed many important barriers in key aspects of SDH occurring in each clinic. As a result, case managers and other health care team members were able to examine distinct differences in what they predicted their patients would say versus what patients actually answered about SDH aspects of their care experiences, including barriers in access to care, health monitoring, and treatment of HBV.
The study and data results have implications for case management practice that may also be applied to other infectious diseases. Implications include patient and community outreach strategies to improve access to care; resource management techniques to improve referrals and disease monitoring; and ongoing and improved education and counseling to change behaviors associated with infectious disease prevention, screening, and linkage to care.