There is a new and easily accessible tool to support both quality of care and health equity efforts that measures the social determinants of health for entire neighborhoods. Using census-based data, the Area Deprivation Index (ADI) collates 17 variables such as housing quality, income, employment, education, and access to transportation. The ADI has already proven very useful in the areas of research and community needs assessments, as well as research and policy reform efforts. It is just now being incorporated into direct health care and health quality and equity work.
The ADI can be used to identify patient populations who may benefit from increased individual evaluation for access and social determinants of health issues. While not a stand-alone indicator of the needs of specific patients, the ADI can inform health care teams of potential issues that the patient may be coping with. The ADI can also target areas for additional outreach and engagement efforts, as well as informing what social pressures may need to be addressed by building community-based organization networks. Health care providers’ interdisciplinary teams can be better prepared to meet needs and connect the proper community resources. The ADI is also a tremendous asset to quality and access improvement efforts by identifying areas of pre-existing need.
Acclivity can give you access to this neighborhood-specific data. Since it can be accessed through a patient’s zip code, this information would be available to clinical teams upon referral and without the need for evaluations or screens. As more and more emphasis is being placed on social determinants of health and health equity, such easily accessible metrics become increasingly valuable to all health care providers, but especially those centered on providing care in the community setting and/or entering into value-based contracting relationships.
Source Material: “Improving Quality and Equity Through Neighborhood-Level Measures of Social Need” by Anna Morenz, Andrew Oliveira, Mark Pregler, and Joshua Liao and posted by Health Affairs Forefront on June 2, 2023, and available at: https://www.healthaffairs.org/content/forefront/future-directions-improving-quality-and-equity-through-neighborhood-level-measures