Federal agency names winner of social determinants of health challenge

Anuja Vaidya (Twitter) - Print  | 

A "community connector" data visualization app that helps community members and policymakers understand how social determinants of health are linked with health outcomes in their regions is the winner of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's social determinants of health challenge.

Data analytics and research firm Mathematica designed the app and won the $50,000 prize.

The federal agency tasked contestants with creating data visualization tools that support and enhance the research and analysis of community-level health services.

The focus of the Community Connector app is to visualize the association between social determinants of health and the incidence of obesity, diabetes and kidney disease in Colorado. It shows health outcomes for all counties as well as county-level scores for six domains of social determinants of health. Users can identify counties most similar to theirs in terms of demographics and unchangeable social needs characteristics relevant to the three conditions.

"While data offer us new ways of understanding our world, it can be challenging for communities to make sense of torrents of data streams," said agency director Gopal Khanna. "Innovations in data visualization, such as the Community Connector tool, turn data into a guiding compass."

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