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In this post we take a look at a new feature of our web-based software, the HCI Platform, that our team of developers, researchers, epidemiologists, and public health experts have just rolled out: the SocioNeeds Index.® (See the News Release)


All communities can be described by various social, economic, personal and environmental factors that are well known to be strong determinants of health outcomes. The underlying data is extensive and cumbersome to systematically apply to geographically targeted population health initiatives led by hospitals, community health collaboratives and public health departments.  Now, the SocioNeeds Index from Healthy Communities Institute provides a beautifully simple way to identify those living in the highest risk zip codes that can benefit most from supportive health and social programs.

To do checklist

  • Watch the video above for a brief explanation about how the SocioNeeds Index can support highly localized strategies.
  • Visit North Country Health Compass to see a live version of the Index.
  • Pick a time from our online calendars for a quick demonstration of the HCI Platform, including the Index.
    (Note: Existing clients, please contact your HCI client service manger directly)

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the SocioNeeds Index?
The SocioNeeds Index is a measure of socioeconomic need that is correlated with poor health outcomes. It is displayed on an interactive map where visitors can identify which zip codes in their community have the highest level of socioeconomic need compared to their region and the United States.

Are the social determinants indicators equally weighted?
The indicators were weighted to maximize the correlation of the index with premature death rates and preventable hospitalization rates.

I already know which zip codes in my community have the highest rates of poverty and unemployment, etc. Why would I need this index?
This index combines multiple socioeconomic indicators into a single composite value. As a single indicator, the index can serve as a concise way to explain which areas are of highest need and why you may be focusing your efforts on those areas. Let the index help you tell your story!

How is the ranking determined for each zip code?
The ranking of 1-5 is a comparison of each zip code to all others within the selected comparison area. If the comparison area is composed of a single county, the ranking will be to all other zip codes in your county. If the comparison area has multiple counties, you can change the selection in the Comparison drop-down menu to view the ranking within each county separately or across your entire Site Region.

What is the range of the Index Values?
The index values range from 0 to 100.

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