Place-based analytics are essential to effective community health improvement strategies. Often, the most impactful interventions stem from an analysis with a geographic component because, as we all know, location matters.
CHRISTUS Health has shown how focus on place with hyperlocal data improves outcomes and reduces health disparities. Leaders took a unique approach when creating their Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) out of their last CHNA.
According to Chara Stewart Abrams, CHRISTUS’s System Director for Community Health and Health Equity, aligning clinical and community data was a critical first step in understanding the lived realities of their communities. They began by concentrating on primary service areas which CHRISTUS Health defines as the ZIP codes in which 80% of the inpatient charges come from. Then, they wanted to understand risks of vulnerability at a more granular level.
For each zip code in the primary service area, they analyzed patient visits, social vulnerability, economic hardship and area deprivation. They also analyzed life expectancy as part of the formula. Using filtered maps on Metopio, the team honed in on five to eight ZIP codes of focus from the larger primary service area for each of their hospitals. They then took these datasets and created the CHRISTUS Community Needs Index, a simple yet predictive score that helps them target how they allocate resources.
CHRISTUS’s Communities of Focus is a great example of how to combine geopspatial datasets to identify areas of highest need. When organizations can better target populations, they can concentrate dollars, people and resources on the shared goal of reducing disparities.