Pursuing Healthy Development With the Child Opportunity Index

Pursuing Healthy Development With the Child Opportunity Index

Children’s health is significantly affected by the environment they live in.

Understanding the relationship between community and health requires measuring multiple neighborhood characteristics that influence children’s health. The Child Opportunity Index (COI) was developed at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University to integrate multiple indicators and capture resources that facilitate healthy child development.

The COI uses child-relevant measures within three domains: education, health and environment, and social and economic. These domains can be examined at individual or aggregate levels and are aligned with ZIP codes, so that it can be integrated into databases such as the Pediatric Health Information System (PHIS). 

Within PHIS, the COI has identified several patterns related to hospital utilization and environments. A lower COI, indicating low opportunity for health development and outcomes, is associated with:

  • Higher hospitalization rates for potentially preventable conditions (i.e., ambulatory sensitive conditions). 
  • Increased hospitalizations, bed days and ED encounters for children with medical complexities.
  • Higher risk of ED utilization, including low resource-intensity visits that are likely better addressed in primary care settings.
  • Increased risk for 30-day readmissions and ED revisits.

Explore diversitydatakids.org for more information on the COI and additional applications.


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For more information, contact the Analytics team.

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About PHIS®

This unblinded comparative data set includes clinical and resource utilization data for inpatient, ambulatory surgery, ED and observation unit encounters.

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