Gaining insights into social components affecting sufferers’ lives can be utilized to enhance healthcare supply in a giant manner.
That’s in keeping with Dr. Courtney Lyles, an affiliate professor on the College of California San Francisco, who helped create an expansive social determinants of health-focused knowledge visualization platform. She mentioned the platform and its improvement on the Workgroup for Digital Information Interchange’s The Quest for Well being Fairness digital convention on Feb. 23.
The platform, UCSF Health Atlas, was launched final April. Targeted on California-based knowledge, it’s designed to enable researchers to discover neighborhood-level traits and see how they relate to well being outcomes. It additionally consists of knowledge on Covid-19.
“It’s fairly clear, and Covid has made it much more clear, that well being is admittedly impacted by place,” stated Lyles, who can also be co-principal investigator of the UCSF Inhabitants Well being Information Initiative. “The place we stay, together with our bodily and social setting, straight influences well being outcomes.”
The interactive platform consists of greater than 150 social determinates of well being variables at totally different ranges of granularity right down to the census tract level, which incorporates between 1,200 and eight,000 folks. The platform attracts from a number of sources together with the American Group Survey from the Census Bureau, CalEnviroScreen developed by the California Environmental Safety Company and the California Division of Public Well being.
However one of many principal challenges of growing a platform like that is deciding what publicly obtainable knowledge to incorporate from the huge trove that’s obtainable, stated Lyles.
To create Well being Atlas, UCSF relied closely on the Health People 2020 framework created by the Workplace of Illness Prevention and Well being Promotion. This framework helped the UCSF workforce suppose by means of 5 domains of social components, stated Lyles. These domains have been:
- Demographic traits
- Socioeconomic components
- Group traits
- Neighborhood traits
- Well being and healthcare indicators
The UCSF workforce then went in and chosen helpful variables inside every of the 5 domains. For instance, throughout the neighborhood area, the workforce chosen particular person variables like language and foreign-born standing in addition to wider variables like inhabitants density and family composition — that’s, folks dwelling in households with youngsters versus single-adult households versus seniors dwelling alone.
“Interested by these variables has actually been fascinating,” stated Lyles. “[It allowed us to] suppose by means of what issues for inhabitants well being and well being fairness danger.”
Combining all this knowledge on an interactive map allows researchers and clinicians to drill down into granular knowledge on anyone variable, and likewise evaluate totally different variables, she stated.
UCSF has gone a step additional and made it attainable to hyperlink that social determinants of well being knowledge with its EHR knowledge. For instance, UCSF mixed the 2 to achieve insights into racial disparities in hypertension outcomes. Eliminating this disparity was a pre-Covid aim for the well being system, Lyles stated.
First, the workforce extracted each single tackle that existed inside UCSF’s EHR, after which they geo-coded these addresses onto latitude and longitude. They assigned census tract identifiers to these geo-coded addresses in order that they could possibly be linked out to the publicly obtainable datasets. Lastly, they gathered scientific and demographic knowledge for sufferers with hypertension receiving care throughout the system.
By combining all this the system was capable of monitor hypertension sufferers by race, neighborhood and socioeconomic standing in San Francisco on the map and evaluate these variables with well being outcomes, Lyles stated. They discovered that Black sufferers are concentrated in sure neighborhoods, and so they’re combating hypertension management.
“This isn’t displaying us one thing that maybe we didn’t know already about structural disparities in care or structural disparities in our society,” Lyles stated.
Nevertheless it does present the pressing want for together with place-based methods in well being techniques’ disparity discount and high quality enchancment packages.
“While you put it on the market in a visible show, it truly offers you much more impetus to consider neighborhoods you wish to goal, or [places where] you may suppose in another way about your interventions transferring ahead,” she stated.
Photograph: GarryKillian, Getty Photos