PI Name: Jessica S Ancker, MPH, PhD
Project Title: “Improving Methods for incorporating Social Determinants of Health Data with Clinical Data”
Sponsor: Weill Cornell Medicine Office of the Dean (Dean’s Diversity and Healthcare Diversity Award)
Project Description: Social and environmental factors strongly determine health outcomes, but are rarely available in electronic health record data sets. In this 1-year project, we supplemented a hospital data set with factors about the patients’ neighborhoods, such as poverty level, public transportation access, and tree cover. We used these factors to supplement a previously validated model that predicts the likelihood of being readmitted to the hospital after discharge. Overall, the social factors did not allow us to predict the chance of readmission more accurately. However, we found that they did improve the predictive power for patients in certain vulnerable groups, such as those who receive Medicaid or are over age 65. The social factors that we can infer from patient neighborhood may be most influential among disadvantaged populations.
Timeline: July 2018-July 2019
Project Title: “Making Numbers Meaningful- Improving Evidence-Based Communication of Numbers in Health”
Sponsor: National Library of Medicine (NIH)
Project Description: Laboratory results, health risk information, environmental indicators of air and water quality. People increasingly have access to massive amounts of data, which could potentially help them understand and manage their health conditions. However, numbers are extremely difficult for many people to understand, and low numeracy is especially prevalent among individuals with less education. That means without assistance, many if not most of our patients will not benefit from this flood of data. Fortunately, a growing body of evidence is available from the psychology, education, and medical literature about how to format and explain numerical information to patients. In this 4-year project, we are collecting and organizing the evidence through a systematic review, and building an online environment to help writers and web developers apply it to their documents and products. The long-term goal is to ensure that medical and health data is always presented in a way that all of our patients can understand and use.
Timeline: September 2018-May 2023