Esri Health Conference, 2015

Mark Carrozza, Dirctor of HealthLandscape, recently blogged about the idea that “Place Matters,” especially when it comes to health and health care. It was fitting, then, that HealthLandscape had two presentations on the agenda at this year’s Esri Health Conference, which was themed “Making Place Matter.”

Our first presentation was an overview of two HealthLandscape tools – The Medicare Data Portal and Accountable Care Organization (ACO) Explorer. The aim of these tools is to help put the power of geographic visualization in the hands of researchers and policy makers. 

The Medicare Data Portal engages decision-makers and researchers with county and Hospital Referral Region (HRR) data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) Geographic Variation database and the Chronic Conditions Warehouse. Users are able to visualize health outcome, cost, and demographic data for the Medicare population using maps, graphs, and trend charts. Users also have the ability to examine the relationship between two indicators (for example, Inpatient Costs and Diabetes) with side-by-side maps and a comparison tool that uses percentiles to visualize the relationship between variables. Users can choose from over 100 indicators across 6 categories, including Medicare Population data, Chronic Conditions, Utilization, Costs, Multiple Chronic Conditions, and Dartmouth Measures.

The ACO Explorer presents data for 211 Accountable Care Organizations, or ACOs. As part of the Affordable Care Act, new models of health care delivery have been developed, aimed at improving the quality of care while reducing costs. ACOs are being touted as potential solutions for the inefficiency and fragmentation of the U.S. healthcare system.  ACOs are made up of groups of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers that coordinate care for Medicare beneficiaries. The tool allows users to visualize 33 quality metrics across five domains, which are compared against benchmarks set by CMS. Each point represents an accountable care organization. When you hover over or click on a specific site, flared rollover windows will appear that contain data about the quality measures included in each of the five domains, which will be colored red, yellow, or green based on their value respective to the thresholds. 

This set of tools can be accessed at For more detailed information, check out our previous blog post, or sign up for an upcoming webinar.

In addition to the more traditional paper sessions, the conference plenary session featured a round of Lightning Talks, where each presenter had a strict 5 minute window in which to present their ideas. Mark presented the HealthLandscape GeoEnrichment API, a HIPAA-compliant Data as a Service (DaaS) solution that appends multiple geographic identifiers and small-area community characteristics to individual data. This project involves integrating social determinants of health data into patient level data to yield a broader view of the environmental and social risks specific to each patient by indicating whether patient lives in the presence of factors such as poverty, healthy food sources, walkable streets and parks, social capital, and much more.  

We’re very excited about all of the possible applications of this simple, but powerful, tool, and we look forward to sharing our ideas and plans in future blog posts.

Jené Grandmont
Senior Manager, Application Development and Data Services

Related Posts