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Social Needs in the Prehospital Setting (SNIPS): EMS Attitudes Toward Addressing Patient Social Needs.

INTRODUCTION: There has been interest in utilizing EMS to address patients' social determinants of health, which are thought to be the cause of many unnecessary transports, particularly for "super-utilizing" patients. However, existing research is limited regarding EMS clinicians' understanding of social determinants of health and attitudes toward potential interventions.

METHODS: This cross-sectional study was conducted using an internet-based survey of EMS clinicians across the United States with multiple methods of recruitment. Descriptive statistics and Chi Square Tests analyzed the data.

RESULTS: A total of 1,112 EMTs and paramedics completed the survey with 43.4% reporting familiarity with the term, "social determinants of health," and 87.7% screening positive for burnout. Greater than 60% reported willingness to use proposed interventions to address patient social needs. Those who reported familiarity with the term, "social determinants of health," were more likely to indicate willingness to utilize interventions and to believe they were responsible for addressing their patients' social needs. Burnout had no effect on clinicians' willingness to use resources.

DISCUSSION: Respondents showed substantial interest in using the proposed resources to address patient social needs, suggesting that EMS clinicians may be receptive to expanding their scope of responsibility to include socioeconomic interventions. EMS clinicians familiar with the term "social determinants of health" were more likely to believe they were responsible for addressing patient social needs and more willing to use interventions, suggesting a potential benefit to more education on the topic. Burnout among EMS clinicians may not be a barrier to implementing such interventions.

CONCLUSION: Our survey suggests that EMS clinicians may be interested in helping to address their patients' social needs. EMS clinicians should be offered education on social determinants of health in their initial training and through continuing education. Partnerships with human services agencies will be important to ensure the effectiveness of prehospital interventions.

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