Telehealth and food insecurity screenings: challenges and lessons learned

Christina Bernhardt, Christian King

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Food insecurity remains a persistent problem in the United States and affected 35.2 million Americans in 2019. In the wake of COVID-19, food insecurity has increased in many communities. Given that food insecurity exacerbates poor health or health conditions, screening of food insecurity within medical settings is frequently identified within the literature as an important first step in effectively addressing this social concern and improving the health outcomes of patients. However, health care providers often do not screen for food insecurity for a variety of reasons. In this article review, we discuss the challenges associated with incorporating food insecurity screenings within the medical model and how the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these challenges. Specifically, the COVID-19 pandemic has substantially increased the delivery of health care services via telehealth, making screening for food insecurity even more difficult via remote videoconferencing. We examine the strengths and weaknesses of telehealth and their implications for food insecurity screenings. We discuss how these implications might inform future research regarding the use of telehealth as a means of screening patients for social determinants of health in the COVID-19 era. Given that the use of telehealth is not expected to back to pre-pandemic levels, it is important to understand how to best screen for social determinants of health via videoconferencing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number10
JournalmHealth
Volume8
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Food insecurity
  • Patient comfort
  • Provider communication
  • Social determinants of health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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