Thursday, November 10, 2011

Introducing the New HealthLandscape

The Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati and the American Academy of Family Physicians Release Major Upgrade to Data Visualization Tool

CINCINNATI — The Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) announce a major upgrade to, a web-based data visualization tool ( that allows healthcare payers, providers, policymakers, researchers, and community planners to perform spatial analysis on health-related data.

"We know that personal health is affected by many determinants outside our physical condition. For example, how does our community healthcare infrastructure, our social environment, our economic well-being affect our health?" asks Mark Carrozza, Health Informatics Developer at the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati and chief architect of the tool. “ helps healthcare providers, payers, policymakers, and planners visualize the impact of such multiple factors on our health.”

In the past, health professionals needed to be highly specialized and extensively trained to make effective use of GIS (Geographic Information Systems) mapping tools. The new release of HealthLandscape has addressed many shortcomings of early systems. A few of the new features in this release include:
  • Ease of use - easily deployed by health professionals with modest information technology backgrounds
  • Pre-loaded datasets that include multiple factors affecting personal health with extensive ability to overlay several conditions on one screen (e.g. correlation of obesity and poverty)
  • Simple point-and-click access to health information. The data have already been uploaded
  • Quick maps, themes, and geocoding capabilities allow users to create maps almost instantly
  • Simple data upload capabilities that take output from electronic medical record systems or other database systems formatted as spreadsheets and pasted directly into HealthLandscape

"With, users can upload their data through a simple spreadsheet, geocode it (turn addresses into mappable geographic coordinates) and then immediately create elegant, meaningful visual maps of that information," Carrozza says. "It’s a lot easier to see relationships in graphic form than it is to interpret data through tables or charts.”

Data visualizations created from a user’s own data are powerful. But also provides superior access to public datasets through its new QuickMaps, QuickThemes, and Community Health View tools. Layering a user’s own data with public datasets such as average household size, percentage of the population in poverty, census data, transportation data, health professional shortage areas and other indicators offers insight not readily discernible any other way.

All maps can be stored on the web and made accessible wherever there is a web connection for use in reports, analyses, and presentations. “Adding graphic data to a presentation can quickly help users Show their Need, Tell their Story, and Explore Alternatives,” says Ed Carl, Executive Director of HealthLandscape, LLC. displays data from the national down to the neighborhood level in compliance with HIPAA data security requirements, thus ensuring confidentiality of all patient information.

HealthLandscape is a collaboration between The Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati and the American Academy of Family Physicians. Both organizations are nonprofit enterprises that share the vision of improving the health condition of their constituents through better understanding of the underlying information that affects health.

“Our primary goal is to promote understanding and improvement of health and healthcare at all levels. HealthLandscape lets people become more involved in and better educated about the health of our communities,” says Pat O’Connor, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati. “Healthcare providers, grantees, and policymakers need powerful data and tools to inform their decisions. can provide just those tools and data.”

"HealthLandscape can play a significant role for a much wider array of users to work with, display, share and benefit from community health data," said Andrew Bazemore, Assistant Director of the Robert Graham Center, American Academy of Family Physicians. "Policy makers think spatially. They look at maps and understand health in terms of their constituents in a way that simple tables do not permit. With HealthLandscape, health professionals in their communities will be able to use maps to better understand local issues and have the data needed to make more informed health policy decisions."

This map shows counties where obesity is a concern; darker shading means higher percentage obese.

About the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati
The Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati is an independent foundation dedicated to improving community health through grants, evaluation, and education. The Foundation works in Cincinnati and 20 surrounding counties in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. For more information please visit

About the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP)
The American Academy of Family Physicians is the United States’ national association of family physicians. It has more than 100,300 members in the 50 states and territories. The Academy was founded in 1947 to promote and maintain high quality standards for family doctors who provide comprehensive health care to the public. For more information please visit

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