ExploreMoHealth: An Example of How One State is Taking Health Data to the Next Level

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Community Commons

The traditional delivery of health care is moving beyond just treatment within the walls of hospitals and into managing the health of populations in the community. Health care providers are increasing their focus on upstream social determinants of health that often lead to poor health outcomes. This shift is being driven in part by new regulations that require hospitals to work with public health experts, such as local public health agencies, and to develop community health needs assessments and improvement plans. These factors are expediting the collaborative delivery of care across the continuum – integrating voices from public health, social service, and community action organizations. It is critical that these collaborative efforts are founded on insightful, firm data that identify areas of need within different populations and across geographic locations. That’s where ExploreMoHealth steps in.

ExploreMOHealth was created in partnership between Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH) and the MHA Health Institute, the not-for-profit corporation affiliated with the Missouri Hospital Association. By combining resources, MFH and MHA were able to create one of the most unique health-related datasets in the country. The Center for Applied Research and Engagement Systems (CARES) at the University of Missouri helped to bring the data alive and make it accessible across sectors.

Data is the key to diagnosing and addressing some of our region’s most pressing health issues, and by making robust and up-to-date information available to the public, ExploreMOHealth is helping to further the missions of MFH and MHA to improve health and the health care system while also supporting other health related initiatives across the state with data for better decision-making.

Building on the Missouri ZIP Health Rankings Project, a collaboration between researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine and the Hospital Industry Data Institute, ExploreMOHealth provides a unique approach to measuring community health at the ZIP code level, using hospital discharge and census-based data applied to the County Health Rankings model of population health.

The data provided by the project are designed to inform community health needs assessments at a granular geographic level to inform targeted resource allocations for community health improvement initiatives. Project findings have been presented at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association and published in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice.

The ExploreMoHealth platform was launched last week and while still in its infancy, it’s generating excitement and opportunity across the state.

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