Engaging Kaiser Permanente’s Business Side in Community Health Promotion Using a Data Visualization and Hotspot Mapping Tool

Engaging Kaiser Permanente’s Business Side in Community Health Promotion Using a Data Visualization and Hotspot Mapping Tool


Dana Barnes, MPH; Samika Ramirez, MHA; Jeffrey Reynoso, DrPH


Introduction: Since its inception in the 1940s as one of the US’s first prepaid health plans, Kaiser Permanente (KP) has had built-in incentives to invest in wellness and prevention among members. Recent efforts have expanded this prevention focus beyond the clinical sphere into social determinants of health and community-level health promotion—ie, “Total Health.” Along with individual risk factor data, a member’s zip code can be an informative proxy for disease risk, socioeconomic context, resource availability, and environmental barriers. Therefore, having actionable zip code-level data about both medical and nonmedical measures of Total Health is crucial for quantifying which efforts are most needed and where.
Methods: In 2016, the KP Southern California (KPSC) Region began piloting the Total Health Action Tool (THAT)—a data visualization and hotspot mapping tool that integrates zip code-level enterprise data with zip code-level external data. THAT is a set of resources on an internal intranet site that includes raw data as well as interactive dashboards. Through simple point-and-click, users can customize to any desired geography and subject matter.
Results: In the first six months post-“go live,” KPSC developed three signature use cases in which THAT has been applied in both clinical and nonclinical functions: In facility planning (assessing the “Total Health” needs of the zip codes in a new facility’s catchment to guide service planning), in clinical program planning (identifying highest-need zip codes for targeted intervention), and in procurement (prioritizing businesses and contractors located in high-unemployment/low-income zip codes).
Discussion: Among the three signature use cases, the recurring themes that illuminated the value of this tool were that: 1) it has helped users objectively identify areas of need, quantify potential impact, and justify the business case for upstream place-based interventions; 2) health promotion efforts have primarily targeted vulnerable communities in the service area; and 3) it has helped users reduce data bottlenecks which, before, may have hindered data-driven decision making. The next step for THAT, through 2017, is to continue gathering KPSC-user feedback to improve the tool’s functionality and to expand the metric library. Then, in 2018 and beyond, the lessons from the KPSC pilot will be used to inform how to enhance the tool and to spread this resource across all KP Regions.

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