ClimaWATCH: An Interactive Tool for Climate Vulnerability Assessments

Explore how heatwaves have affected health care use and spending.

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ClimaWATCH (Climate and Weather Analytics, Trends, and Community Health) clarifies how heat waves have impacted health care utilization and spending among one of the most vulnerable populations across the country—Medicaid beneficiaries. The tool synthesizes and visualizes multiple data sources to make it easy to explore relationships between exposure to heatwaves, vulnerability to climate hazards based on social and environmental factors, and heat-related health issues at the county, state, and national levels.

Mathematica statisticians, data scientists, and health policy researchers have synthesized national Medicaid claims; data and indices that capture vulnerability related to social, geographic, and infrastructural features; and localized metrics on temperature and humidity. The interactive ClimaWATCH tool provides statistics and visualizations to show where heat waves have concentrated, how socio-environmental factors differ in counties with and without heatwaves, and which communities have faced higher excess health service use and spending attributable to heat waves.

The dynamic dashboard can help officials anticipate surges in health care utilization, identify who is most at risk for heat-related health issues, adapt municipal vulnerability planning to address health inequities, and target resources to high-risk communities to facilitate more equitable adaptation and climate-resilient health systems.

For more information about the ClimaWATCH tool, read a two-page overview or see it in action in a short video. For interest in adapting ClimaWATCH to your community’s needs—for example, to incorporate more localized metrics, data on additional climate-related hazards, or forecasting and simulation to enable scenario planning and emergency response—contact Aparna Keshaviah.

We’d like to acknowledge the following team members who contributed to the development of this tool: Aparna Keshaviah, Cindy Hu, Dheeya Rizmie, Huihua Lu, Eric Morris, Mike Rudacille, Shruthi Ramesh, and Tobi Yanez Tandeciarz.