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How Anthem Foundation Uses Data, Population Health Techniques to Target Major Issues


Social mapping technology and public health data help the group choose which nonprofits to fund.

Social mapping technology aids Anthem Foundation in targeting areas with major health issues.

With more than $53 million in grants awarded, the Anthem Foundation has used social mapping and population health techniques to improve and save lives.

The foundation uses data to be proactive and generate community plans in each of its markets, homing in on local issues and local solutions.

“By using public health data and innovative social mapping technology, the Anthem Foundation is able to drill down to the zip code level to identify opportunities where funding can be directed most efficiently with the greatest impact,” Anthem Foundation said in a new release.

>> READ: Carving a Path Toward Healthcare Equity: The Surge of Public Investment in Digital Health

The charitable population health effort, the Healthy Generations initiative, uses innovative social mapping technology and analyzes public health data through community assessments completed by nonprofit organizations to create a map of the major health issues in each state. The foundation then uses a competitive grant process to select nonprofit grant awardees. Because it is a private foundation, Anthem cannot fund companies and only funds local grants.

The Healthy Generations initiative focuses on five areas: healthy hearts, cancer prevention, healthy maternal practices, healthy diabetes prevention and healthy active lifestyle.

And innovative tactics have improved the Anthem Foundation’s work.

Prior to social mapping, the foundation knew there was a high smoking rate in Indiana, which caused the group to undertake a statewide campaign. Billboards brought awareness to the issue and encouraged people to call a 1-800 number to get help.

Though the campaign was widely communicated, the foundation found it reached more people after it started collecting population health data.

Social mapping allowed the foundation to target the southeast side of Indianapolis, and a grant led to a partnership with the American Lung Association that has aided at least 4,500 residents to complete a smoking cessation program while reducing secondhand smoke exposure for an estimated 50,000 additional residents.

“We always say that the foundation applies as much science to the art of grant giving as possible,” the Anthem Foundation’s executive director, Lance Chrisman, told Healthcare Analytics News™. “We want to make sure that we are maximizing our impact as much as possible and getting resources to the greatest area of need.”

The Anthem Foundation and the American Heart Association have trained more than 10 million individuals in pursuit of reaching their goal of doubling both the cardiac survival arrest rate and the bystander CPR rate. A partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of America has engaged 16 million youths in healthy active lifestyles across the country.

“We utilize data to help us utilize resources efficiently and effectively,” Chrisman said.

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