AAFP Acquires HealthLandscape

Health Data Mapping Tool Shows Access, Distribution Needs

May 09, 2014 09:15 pm Michael Laff

The AAFP recently announced that it has acquired HealthLandscape(www.healthlandscape.org), an interactive online mapping tool that allows users to collect, analyze and present complex health data in an easily understood visual format.

[Color Coded Health Landscape Map if United States]

A map created with HealthLandscape software gives a detailed picture of community health needs.

HealthLandscape enables users to collect health, socioeconomic and environmental data in a single location and use those data to analyze vital national health care issues across the country, such as patient access to care and the distribution of primary care physicians. In fact, the tool has already proven helpful in identifying areas where access to care is problematic, as well as locations where the supply of primary care physicians is inadequate.

"This is a vital tool for health professionals, policymakers, academic researchers and planners who are working to improve outcomes through health care policies that affect patients' access to care, funding for medical education, and the distribution of the primary care physician and health professional workforce," said Academy EVP and CEO Douglas Henley, M.D., in a May 7 news release.

Launched as a collaborative effort of the Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care and Interact for Health, formerly known as the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati, HealthLandscape comprises multiple software tools that permit detailed analyses of specific communities' health profiles.

"Primary care practices and community clinics can use several tools to get a detailed picture of their coverage area and make strategic decisions about what their patient community needs," said Mark Carrozza, health informatics developer for the AAFP.

Community HealthView, for example, combines health, socioeconomic and environmental information in a single location to help answer questions about and improve health and health care. The tool includes state, county, tract and zip code data.

The same extensive data library is available in all HealthLandscape sites. In addition, community data portals allow users to combine their own data with HealthLandscape's publicly available social, behavioral, economic and health databases in an online interface.

The Medicare Data Portal uses Medicare claims data to calculate utilization rates and spending. The portal also incorporates chronic condition indicators such as diabetes, heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Health Care Workforce Mappers -- the GME Outcomes Mapper, the Primary Care Physician Mapper, the MedSchool Mapper and the Residency Footprinting Mapper -- shed light on the current status of the health care workforce, including graduate medical education outcomes, the distribution of primary care physicians and the relationship between residency programs and their communities.

Users of HealthLandscape software also can locate existing U.S. federally funded health center service areas, identify where gaps in the safety net exist, and determine which neighborhoods or regions might be appropriate for health center expansion.