How does your ZIP code rank on health?

August 23, 2017

Author: Mat Reidhead, Vice President of Research and Analytics

Q: How does your ZIP code rank on health?

A: Really, really well if you live in 63005 — the Chesterfield area in west St. Louis County — or 64113, the Country Club District in west-central Kansas City, Mo. But not so well if you live a few miles away in 64128 — Kansas City’s Palestine East neighborhood, or if you live in 63934, down in rural Wayne County by Clubb, Mo. According to new data from the Hospital Industry Data Institute and Washington University, these were Missouri’s top- and bottom-two ZIP codes in 2016 for health factors and health outcomes out of 960 ranked statewide.

The places where we live, work, learn and play affect our health. Having granular information on health factors and health outcomes in the places where Missourians live can help hospitals and communities take action to help create and sustain a healthy Missouri. And for what it’s worth, Missouri has been ranked below the national average for health since 1990.

A recent collaboration between researchers at HIDI, Washington University and BJC HealthCare, provided a unique approach to measuring community health at the ZIP-code level using hospital discharge and census-based data applied to the County Health Rankings model of population health. The project was funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through a 2015 County Health Rankings Research Grant award.

Our aim was to provide health data at a meaningfully granular level in Missouri. Doing so would conceptually assist our hospitals and other community health stakeholders to identify localized areas in most need of targeted interventions designed to improve health. Most community health needs assessments are based on county-level data, which in terms of population size range from one million to two thousand in Missouri. We wanted to change that in order to enhance the effectiveness of allocation decisions related to scarce community health improvement resources.

The findings of our study were presented at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association and published in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice. And, what we’re most excited about, is that the MHA Board of Directors and the Missouri Foundation for Health just approved a shared investment in the development of an interactive home for these data. The CHNA platform currently is being designed by the Center for Applied Research and Environmental Systems at the University of Missouri. Our goal is to launch the site in early January 2018 to assist our members in their next CHNA cycle.

The August issue of HIDI HealthStats provides a good summary of the project and the results of our most recent update using data through 2016.
Zip Ranking_Franklin County