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AMA Updates Population Health Tool to Improve Patient Care Access

The Health Workforce Mapper includes updated population health data to help providers increase patient care access.

AMA updates population health tool to improve patient care access

Source: Thinkstock

By Jessica Kent

- The American Medical Association (AMA) has enhanced its Health Workforce Mapper tool with updated population health data to further improve patient access to care.

The tool, which allows users to see the distribution of providers in each state, will now include population health data by geographic location. The “Population Health Explorer” feature will show data on several community and socioeconomic factors, including healthcare access and quality, demographics, and social environment.

This new feature will help users understand where physicians practice, where patients are located, and which factors significantly impact patients’ access to healthcare.

The Health Workforce Mapper tool also offers reliable data from AMA, CMS, and the CDC, enabling users to identify health professional shortage areas, hospital locations, and other workforce-related trends.

Residents and medical students may be able to use the tool to see which states have shortages in certain medical specialties, which could influence career-related decisions.

“The AMA is committed to improving patient access to high-quality care. With the updated mapping tool, physicians and health care professionals will be able to more precisely and easily pinpoint the areas and populations which could benefit most from their skills and services,” said AMA President Barbara L. McAneny, MD.

Other organizations have focused their efforts on improving care gaps as well.

In September 2018, CMS updated its Mapping Medicare Disparities tool to include a Hospital View feature, which allows users to compare healthcare quality and outcomes at the hospital level.

Users can also identify areas of disparities between subgroups of Medicare beneficiaries in terms of health outcomes, utilization, and spending.

Launched in 2016, the Mapping Medicare Disparities tool aims to inform policy decisions, target specific populations in need of interventions, and understand socioeconomic differences in health outcomes.

“We want local providers to understand the issues facing their service areas, and we want to give them the opportunity to drill down into some of the factors related to their work that may need improvement,” Cara V. James, PhD, Director of the CMS Office of Minority Health told HealthITAnalytics.com at the time.

“As we continue to link socioeconomic factors to clinical care, we will be able to rethink how to address these relationships, and I believe that will help us make a meaningful impact on metrics like readmission rates or medication adherence.”

With the new updates to its Health Workforce Mapper tool, AMA expects to improve patient care access and identify areas in need of medical services.

“Providers can use this information to help them determine where to locate or expand their practices to reach patients in greatest need of access to care,” McAneny said.

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