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An estimated 36 percent of American adults have health literacy levels rated at “basic or below,” indicating that they have difficulty obtaining, processing, and understanding basic health information and services. To help healthcare decisionmakers in Missouri identify neighborhood-level “hotspots” of suboptimal health or healthcare that may be due to low health literacy, RAND developed a prototype interactive web-based mapping tool. This builds on earlier RAND work to develop a predictive model of health literacy and estimate levels of health literacy in small geographic areas (e.g., census tracts). The interactive mapping tool allows stakeholders to select the level of geography (e.g., census tract, county), obtain information for and map specific regions of interest, select the characteristics to be mapped (i.e., estimates of community-level health literacy, health outcomes and care quality, neighborhood sociodemographic characteristics, and neighborhood health services data), and generate tables and reports on the regions and characteristics of interest. Housed on a dedicated RAND website, the mapping tool makes it possible for a range of stakeholders, from health plans to community organizations, to access and use the tool to help address healthcare disparities in their communities. This report describes the tool and includes a User's Guide and Case Study.

This work was sponsored by the Missouri Foundation for Health. The research was conducted in RAND Health, a division of the RAND Corporation.

This report is part of the RAND technical report series. RAND technical reports may include research findings on a specific topic that is limited in scope or intended for a narrow audience; present discussions of the methodology employed in research; provide literature reviews, survey instruments, modeling exercises, guidelines for practitioners and research professionals, and supporting documentation; or deliver preliminary findings. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure that they meet high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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