Dr. Nir Menachemi, chair of the health policy and
management department at Indiana University’s
Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health.
There is one clue that speaks volumes about your health prospects but has nothing to do with your medical records.
“We know now that one of the greatest predictors of health outcomes for almost any patient, undergoing any procedure, or with almost any disease, is one value on a patient’s chart,” says Dr. Nir Menachemi, chair of the health policy and management department at Indiana University’s Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health. “And that value isn’t medical. It’s their ZIP code. You can tell with extreme accuracy how someone is going to fare, after a procedure, by their ZIP code.”
Where a person lives is critical because health is shaped by factors outside the scope of traditional medical interventions and advice.
“In this country, we tend to medicalize health-care issues,” Menachemi says. “If someone is having a health issue, we automatically assume the medical system can fix it. A lot of organizations are now beginning to realize that many health issues are not necessarily problems that can be addressed through medical care alone. They’re bigger issues in the communities where people live.”
Menachemi is participating in a study, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, that aims to help medical professionals and institutions make better use of that data. The project, which draws on the resources of The Polis Center, the Regenestrief Institute, and the Richard M.
Fairbanks School of Health, is testing a tool that predicts what kind of care might best serve a patient. To do so, it uses an algorithm that incorporates medical records as well as neighborhood-level data from the SAVI Community Information System supplied by Polis.
“We’re taking data about the neighborhood where patients live and seeing if we can predict who’s at risk for needing some of these social services,” Menachemi says. Services include nutritionists, financial and legal advisers, and mental health professionals. “The medical way of thinking about a problem is, if the patient isn’t doing well after a couple of visits, figure out the next medical intervention. Whereas, if you deploy a nutritionist to take them grocery shopping, and better educate the family on how to stretch the buck to incorporate healthy eating into the family’s lifestyle, maybe you’ll actually put a dent in the ability of the family to manage diabetes, for example.”The tool has been in the pilot stages and will soon be implemented in the 10 health clinics maintained by Eskenazi Health.
“This is absolutely at the cutting edge,” Menachemi says of the collaboration. “It’s almost like this perfect marriage of forces— all of us on the same team, trying to figure out how to lead the nation in improving quality and reducing costs in health care.”
The Summer 2017 issue of SAVI Online Magazine covers the influence of location on health. We will share with you highlights from four projects that incorporate statistics from the SAVI community information system. In each instance, data guide program and policy decisions that will have a significant impact on the health of a community’s residents and population health in general.
- Parkview Health System collaborated with The Polis Center and IU’s Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health, acting jointly as the Indiana Partnership for Healthy Communities, to identify the top health concerns in Fort Wayne and the surrounding counties.
- The IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health is testing a tool that integrates medical records and neighborhood-level data to predict the best type of treatment for a patient.
- Students in public health are using SAVI in their research to more completely understand and identify the socioeconomic determinants of health.
- The report, Unequal Access: Tobacco Retail in the Indianapolis Metro Area reveals that tobacco is more readily available for purchase in areas that already struggle with quality-of-life issues.
The SAVI Community Information System allows one to focus on a particular geography and look at a health challenge in relationship to other factors, including financial stability, education, health, and culture, among others. It also allows one to see across a larger community such as a county where a health concern is concentrated and what other challenges the population in those areas face. Armed with this information, organizations and decision makers can develop a targeted solution to increase successful intervention rates.
Did you know?
- In 2016, the smoking rates of the five healthiest states ranged from 9.1-13.8%. Indiana ranks 39th with a smoking rate of 20.6%; Marion County’s smoking rate is 21.8%.
- Maternal smoking is nearly twice as high in high tobacco access areas.
- Tobacco costs Indiana $6 billion annually in health care costs and lost productivity.
Join The Polis Center at IUPUI on Thursday, June 29, 2017, 7:45-10:00 a.m. at WFYI, 1630 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN 46202 for SAVI Talks!
Be the first to hear the findings from the report, Unequal Access: Tobacco Retail in the Indianapolis Metro Area, a companion piece to the IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health’s September 2016 Report on the Tobacco Epidemic in Marion County and Indiana!
Retail access to various smoking products is an important consideration when discussing community action to improve a community’s health. Studies show that tobacco outlet density and proximity are linked to tobacco use–particularly in poor areas. We used socioeconomic data culled from the SAVI community information system to examine the density and proximity of tobacco outlets relative to vulnerable communities in Marion County.
Karen Comer, Director of Collaborative Research and Health Geoinformatics, The Polis Center, will present findings from the SAVI analysis of retail access in Indianapolis. Panelists for the discussion include:
- Virginia A. Caine, MD, Director, Marion County Public Health Department
- Claire Fiddian-Green, President and CEO, Fairbanks Foundation
- Paul K. Halverson, DrPH, FACHE, Professor and Founding Dean, IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health
- Bryan Mills, President and Chief Executive Officer, Community Health Network
Carmel Wroth, Managing Editor, WFYI’s Side Effects Public Media, will moderate.
Sponsored by the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation in partnership with the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health, The Polis Center at IUPUI, the IUPUI School of Liberal Arts, IUPUI, and WFYI.