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The democratization of data for health equity

As the old adage goes, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words;’ yet when illustrated by numbers, data analysts could easily argue that its value can grow beyond measure. If there’s anything to prove this theory true, it’s the work we’re doing with the Sharecare Community Well-Being Index to bring equity to healthcare while optimizing it for all. 

Through the Sharecare Community Well-Being Index, our ongoing measurement of well-being across the U.S., we assess well-being and health risk across populations through the lens of individual well-being factors – physical, financial, social, community, and purpose – as well as more than 600 elements social determinants of health (SDOH) – food access, resources, healthcare, economic security, and housing and transportation. Covering all U.S. states, every Census-designated metropolitan statistical area, and 99.9% of counties nationwide, we designed this Index to inspire the groundwork for interventions addressing systemic and population-based inequities, SDOH, and more. 

It’s important to note that our Index’s breadth and scope – while reaching far beyond any measurement instrument of its kind – aren’t mere features; they’re keys that unlock full visibility to even our most underrepresented and underserved populations. In turn, it gives each of our partners across the healthcare ecosystem, from employers to payers to community organizations, equal opportunity and critical transparency to meet these individuals where they are.   

As examples, we have identified insights – each with actionable opportunities – through the Index across: 

  • “Access” deserts, characterized by underserved populations with financial barriers; resource deficiencies for women, children, and seniors; and low levels of health literacy
  • Forms of institutional racism that impact health outcomes such as cardiovascular and reproductive health, COVID-19 transmission and mortality rates, housing quality, access to healthcare, and community resource availability
  • Impacts of gentrification, pollution, and heatwave days on urban environments
  • Health risks and daily behaviors stemming from the built environment, including the impact of long commutes

With these data-driven insights (the above examples are just a few), we’re providing evidence and information that empowers healthcare stakeholders to define and execute targeted strategies across diverse geographies and contexts, combating social risk circumstance and enhancing equity. Thanks to this dynamic view of various populations, our data is shaping actions, programs, and policies that can yield generational impact by changing their individual relationships with health through their everyday environments and touchpoints. 

Like many who embody the spirit of “sharing care,” we’re called to support those beyond ourselves in achieving healthier lives and futures – inclusive of opportunity, access, community and social support, and more. The way we see it, it’s our privilege not only to democratize the Community Well-Being Index for the good of the whole, but also to be a choice partner supporting healthcare’s most promising change-makers along the journey toward equity.