Academic Medical Center

Custom SDOH research platform helps AMC strengthen its community partnerships

Education, Healthcare, Launch, Product Design + Development
person utilizing a SDOH platform on their laptop

A leading university and health system wanted to build a custom research application that could display the intersection of its community initiatives with SDOH datasets using a mapping overlay technique.

Through its extended partnerships, our client is committed to five focus areas – housing, health, education, employment, and community – with priorities in each of the focus areas related to root causes of inequity and social determinants of health.

  • Academic Medical Center
  • Health
  • Housing
  • Education
  • Employment
  • Community
  • Alignment workshop report
  • Landscape analysis
  • Solution architecture
  • UX research & design
  • Data modeling / API architecture
  • Functional prototype
  • Custom software development

The challenge

Data associated with our client’s community initiatives was scattered across multiple websites. This poorly integrated data prevented students, researchers, and other stakeholders from easily locating and analyzing available information. Our client needed a cost-effective solution that could centralize and display that data, while also providing researchers with a mapping tool that could help them visualize the intersection between the university’s community initiatives and SDOH datasets.

SDOH and community outcomes

The World Health Organization has determined that social factors regularly contribute more to patient outcomes than that of any healthcare provided. Not surprisingly integration and utilization of SDOH data has become a priority in healthcare information systems.

SDOH focus area graphic

Impacts of SDOH data on patient care


SDOH affects as much as 50% of county-level variation in health outcomes


Preventing early chronic diseases can reduce spending by 34%


5% of patients account for 50% of all health-care expenditures

collage of healthcare workers and community members

What we delivered

Our product team customized a platform with intuitive dashboards and an interactive mapping tool that enables students, researchers, and faculty to search for our client’s community initiatives and the intersection of those initiatives with nationally recognized SDOH data.


  • Powerful SDOH visualization tool for research & impact
  • Map of all initiatives and community partners
  • Overlay of initiatives and SDOH datasets
  • Library of resources, events, assets, videos, stories, & community data
  • Light CRM and admin workflows
  • Complex permissions across many different personas and use cases

A powerful, interactive map that combines layers of SDOH data with community initiatives

SDOH data platform images

This interactive map enables users to search for community initiatives and the intersection of those initiatives with nationally recognized SDOH data. The mapping tool gives stakeholders greater visibility into the client’s collaborative efforts with its community partners and provides dataset layering so users can assess impact and need in specific geographic regions.


Local and national datasets

Through our research, we identified over 400 local and national datasets spanning the five focus areas. We drew from over 30 sources, ranging from national organizations, including the U.S. Census Bureau, HUD, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, to sources that are specific to North Carolina, such as Durham Neighborhood Compass, North Carolina’s School Report Cards, and the North Carolina Institute of Medicine.

Data sets and sources

Our process

We knew going into the project that the complexity of the users and features of the platform, so we worked to align with our client every step of the way through a built in process.

two individuals at a white board planning
Healthcare worker

Building a platform that combines layers of disparate data is a highly complex process and requires a sound understanding of user needs and the necessary functionality. To provide more clarity around our approach, we walked our clients through each step of our process.

Alignment workshop

An alignment workshop brings stakeholders together to align on product vision, user profiles, and priorities for building the product ecosystem.

Competitive analysis

Our product team reviewed our client’s existing research. We then expanded the analysis to competitive and partnership markets.

Build, buy, or partner

Through a landscape analysis of mapping and data visualization tools, we compiled a Good, Better, Best model to finalize direction on an MVP, and from there made a buy-vs-build recommendation based on budget, features, and user needs.

Solution architecture

From our research analysis, we also developed a comprehensive solution architecture document that would serve as our product roadmap to translate the scope and product needs with our client’s internal technical team.

Wireframes, design, and prototype

Because of the complexity of the platform, we applied an agile approach to design, beginning with wireframes. By applying digital design best practices and working through the user journey, we created prototypes for the end-product, including functionality, look and feel, user experience, and integrations.


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