It is estimated that 80% of a person’s health outcomes are related to social factors outside of their control. These social determinants of health are the nonmedical factors that influence a person’s health, including the conditions in which they are born, live, work, and age. In 2021, CIVHC took a big step to enhance the CO APCD and its capacity to report on these social conditions by geocoding the database. The CO APCD can now provide deeper, more insightful analyses into health equity across the state and is one of the few APCDs in the country with this capability.
Geocoding is the process of tagging each person represented in the CO APCD with latitude and longitude coordinates. This allows CIVHC analysts to link member and provider addresses to data sources at different geography levels, including the census tract level. While the CO APCD is able to report data at county and zip code levels, linking data at the census tract level significantly increases the specificity and accuracy capabilities of the CO APCD. At the census tract level, data is broken into small “neighborhoods” comprising an average of 4,000 people, and no more than 8,000, allowing for heightened insights and precise geographic analysis.
Geocoding also opens the door to linking CO APCD data to other data sources to investigate socio-economic factors on health. Through the geocoded socio-economic background score (GSB) CIVHC created, we can now overlay claims data with other data sets at the census tract level, such as the American Community Survey (ASC) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Social Vulnerability Index, to report on the intersection of social determinant of health factors such as income level, housing status, race and ethnicity, and health outcomes.
CIVHC used these capabilities in a public report for the first time with the Health Equity Analysis, released in spring 2023. The innovative analysis investigates the relationship between key social factors and access and use of health care services measured on the Community Dashboard.
Socio-economic measures included in the report (income; education; employment status; housing and transportation; race, ethnicity and language) were derived from the ACS and the CDC Social Vulnerability Index, marking the first time outside data sources were incorporated into a CIVHC report and demonstrating the power of analysis provided by a geocoded CO APCD.
Each year, the CO APCD geocoding will update as CIVHC continues to work to identify opportunities to further integrate geocoded data into future reporting and analyses as appropriate. Through these innovative steps, the CO APCD continues to grow in exciting ways that allows it to stand out in its scope, comprehensibility, and utility.
As CIVHC continues to learn more about incorporating social determinant of health data into our reporting, we will share more. In the meantime, contact us with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.