Real estate isn’t the only thing that’s all about location. Your ZIP code may be the single biggest predictor of your health and mortality.
Healthcare analytics professionals increasingly view ZIP codes as surrogates for income, education, employment status, ethnicity and other related data elements that are collectively referred to as social determinants of health (SDOH). These types of data are beginning to play a critical role in population health management (PHM) practices.
The challenges of big data, more data sources
Healthcare is focused on unlocking insights from clinical data that resides in electronic health record (EHR) systems, as well as claims data. Emerging data sources are challenging healthcare organizations to broaden the scope of their data gathering and analysis. A recent report titled "Care Redesign: What Data Can Really Do for Health Care" states that, in a survey of healthcare professionals by NEJM Catalyst, a part of the Massachusetts Medical Society, respondents identified clinical data, cost data and claims data as the three most useful data sources today for effective care design and management. However, respondents said they expect the picture to change somewhat in five years, with patient-generated health data (PGHD) and genomic data gaining ground as important data sources. (Curiously, the report makes no mention of social determinant data, a key missing item in achieving a holistic understanding of patients that helps predict healthcare outcomes.)
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