It Takes a Community – Population Health in Missouri
With new paradigms in population health management and accountable care, the traditional delivery of health care is moving beyond the walls of hospitals and into patients’ communities. Providers are focusing on upstream social determinants of health that often result in poor physical health outcomes. These “upstreamists” — doctors, nurses, social workers and other hospital-based community health specialists — will prescribe changes to patients’ physical and social surroundings to prevent chronically-exacerbated illnesses as readily as they prescribe conventional medicines to manage symptoms. The acceptance of the notion that an individual’s community and social context has a larger impact on their health outcomes than their genetic markers is a growing phenomenon in medicine.
Community health needs assessments provide hospitals with the opportunity to identify the upstream clinical and social factors affecting population health in their communities. CHNAs provide an opportunity for hospitals to identify and form relationships with other community stakeholders for the purpose of improving population health.
The purpose of this issue of HIDI HealthStats is to develop and make available community-based health and social factor data at the ZIP code level in Missouri.