For decades in the United States, efforts to improve health outcomes have focused on health care access. While access is important, research shows that social, economic and environmental factors, such as living in a distressed community with high unemployment, lack of childcare options, limited transportation and high crime, have a more significant impact on a person’s health. Quality data is critical to better understanding social determinants of health and advancing health equity because it provides insight into where vulnerable populations live, where interventions should be targeted, what progress is being made, and when goals are achieved.
To help organizations working on health equity leverage data in their work, The Colorado Trust commissioned Shift Research Lab to develop an implementation plan for a social determinants of health digital platform for Colorado, including the creation of a social determinants of health data model. To help inform this implementation plan, Shift will lead a stakeholder engagement process to better understand how healthy equity-focused organizations would use a social determinants of health data platform to inform their work.
By providing more insight into the data behind social determinants of health, Shift is helping organizations that are dedicated to health equity better understand--and ultimately address--the variables that negatively impact health outcomes.