Wednesday, May 23 , 2018, 7:53 pm | A Few Clouds 62º

Your Health
A Noozhawk partnership with Cottage Health

Cottage Health Releases Free Population Health Database Tool

Population health efforts are all about improving a community’s well-being, and Cottage Health hopes its new database tool will help nonprofits target programs to specific areas in need.

Cottage Health recently unveiled its interactive database packed with localized health information, CottageData2Go.

Groups are already mining it for valuable information, and Cottage Health plans to keep it updated and add locally gathered information, including the survey answers from the Community Health Needs Assessment, said Katy Bazylewicz, vice president of marketing and population health.

CottageData2Go is free and fairly easy to navigate, with map views and list forms of information like education, or what kind of health insurance people have, by census track. 

People can use it for research, grant writing or to help build community programs, Bazylewicz said.

“All the information from the Community Health Needs Assessment, that 300-page document, will be incorporated, and I think that will be really interesting looking at health indicators and seeing how they differ based on your area,” she said.

The Community Health Needs Assessment showed that Santa Barbara County is healthy compared to California as a whole, but many communities, including people with low incomes or less education, are doing worse.

Some of the priority health areas identified for the county are access to care (cost, primary care provider, health insurance), chronic conditions, food and housing insecurity, and mental health, Cottage Health said.

The Population Health team held a workshop at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for interested nonprofit and community groups to show how to use CottageData2Go, and how to apply for this year’s batch of community partnership grants, which focus on behavioral health.

Nonprofit organizations could use CottageData2Go when they prepare grant applications and to focus their programming, said Judy Taggart, chief operating officer for the Santa Barbara Foundation.

“I think it’s going to be a great tool for nonprofits,” said Taggart, who attended the workshop. 

“I think most nonprofits are trying to keep an eye on their community and CottageData2Go really gives them an opportunity to do that, to look at hard data and not just anecdotal data.”

CottageData2Go puts a lot of local health and demographic information into one place, she noted.

“At Santa Barbara Foundation we are trying to make sure all the folks who apply for grants are including measurable outcomes in their grant programs. When they have this kind of data to look at, it really gives them a good starting place and allows them to build on it,” Taggart said. 

Cottage Health was a great organization to lead the charge for population health locally, since they have facilities throughout the community, she added. 

Cottage Health’s Population Health initiatives include a medical respite program for the homeless with PATH (formerly Casa Esperanza), and working with the Boston-based company Health Leads to start a program screening patients for social needs along with medical needs.

“When someone comes in say to the emergency department or one of our clinics, or meets with one of our partners, we’ll have this screening tool on social needs,” Bazylewicz said.

“Do you have enough food? Do you have transportation to get your meds? Do you have refrigeration if you need to refrigerate your medication?”

Cottage Health plans to hire workers or have volunteers manage that program, and the information would be entered into a database so health workers and community partners, such as the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, can coordinate “wraparound care” for each person, Bazylewicz said.

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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