A Fate Worse Than Death?

High on the list of things people fear, often times higher than death, is public speaking.  I actually enjoy it – getting out there and talking about the great things we are doing here at HealthLandscape.  When I have this opportunity I often get to meet like-minded people doing innovative things in my three main interests: health care, informatics and geography.  

Recently, I was able to present at the URISA GIS and Public Health Conference held in Washington, DC, the work HealthLandscape is doing on linking social determinants of health with data in EHRs.  This work, on what we call Community Vital Signs, is a happy intersection of all three of my interests in a cutting edge platform.  Community Vital Signs brings the data that help us understand how our neighborhoods shape us and how place interacts with diagnoses, treatment plans and ultimately health, to the medical teams that work with us to return us to health or keep us healthy.  We continue to work on novel ways of introducing these data to health care teams so that each team member gets the data they are most able to incorporate into their workflows and act upon.

The focus of the conference was on “Mapping the Way to Healthy Communities.”  In addition to my presentation, my co-worker, Dave Grolling, presented on the HealthLandscape Population Health Mapper – a free, online tool that makes accessible many of the same data as are in our Community Vital Signs tool.  The Population Health Mapper allows users to identify cold spots, or those counties where multiple health indicators or social determinants of health are outside the range of national averages.  We argue that where these indicators pile up, we would expect high health care need and, if there are sufficient providers there, high health care use.

Actually, the HealthLandscape team frequently gets out there and demonstrates the tools we have developed- I encourage you to come see a presentation or attend one of our regularly scheduled webinars.  Just in the next two weeks we will have four presentations- at the:

We look forward to seeing you there!

Jennifer Rankin
Senior Manager for Research and Product Services

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