Friday, April 27, 2012

We're Previewing Our Community Indicators Data Portal at United Way Community Leaders Conference

HealthLandscape specializes in creating data portals that make community data accessible, updatable, and interactive. (Check out our website for a few featured portals.)

The West Virginia Data Portal displays community indicators related to population, children and youth, educational attainment, health, and economy. The map above shows two indicators: per capita market income for 2009 (left) and 2012 Health Factors Rank (right).

We'll be previewing our Community Indicators Data Portal next week at the United Way Community Leaders Conference in Nashville.

Organizations like the United Way amass a lot of data, especially community indicator data. A community indicator is a way of measuring the health and well-being of a community. There are no standard indicators; typically, community organizations come together and work cooperatively to determine what needs to be measured and how they can do so.

Indicators can vary widely. They may include such measures as:
  • Requests for assistance with basic needs such as rent or utility payments
  • Food bank or food stamp usage statistics
  • Unemployment statistics
  • Home foreclosures
  • Infant mortality
  • Childhood overweight and obesity
  • Chronic diseases
HealthLandscape takes community indicator data (which is usually presented in table or graph form), and deploys it on our HealthLandscape mapping platform. The data comes alive, because:
  • It's given context: People understand the data in relationship to where they live
  • It's not static: Indicators can be overlaid and compared
  • It's visualized: What is difficult to see in a table becomes obvious on a map
How does your community measure its health and well-being? And how would a map make it easier to see?

Monday, April 16, 2012

How One Person Used Mapping to Improve Community Health

The Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati (one of HealthLandscape's sponsoring organizations) and The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky recently co-sponsored an event called "The Hot Spotter's Agenda: Targeting Resources to Achieve Quality Care." Keynote speaker was Dr. Jeffrey Brenner, a primary care physician in Camden, New Jersey.

Dr. Brenner's dramatic story is told in a 2011 New Yorker article by Atul Gawande. Dr. Brenner, who was on track to become a neuroscientist, instead changed his vocational focus after volunteering one day a week in a free primary care clinic during medical school. After seeing how patients were treated--or not, in one case--he became curious about the relationship between crime "hot spots" and health care delivery. He used maps to plot the data. Although he did not persuade city leaders to implement solutions based on his findings, he continued to collect and examine data and look for medical usage patterns using maps.

He made many discoveries. For example, he located the two blocks that accounted for more healthcare costs than any other in the city--totaling more than $200 million in healthcare bills in a 5.5-year period. He found that a single building sent more people to hospitals as a result of serious falls than any other, totaling almost $3 million in healthcare costs.

Dr. Brenner made meaningful use of the data. He has subsequently poured his efforts into the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, an organization he founded to treat "superutilizers." His team has successfully built relationships with the patients they serve, and the Coalition's care has resulted in significant reductions in healthcare costs.

Click here to view Dr. Brenner's keynote entitled, "Bending the Cost Curve and Improving Quality in One of America's Poorest Cities." Also presenting are Greg Moody and Eric Friedlander, who give Ohio and Kentucky regional perspectives to the concept of "hot spotting."

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Using Pinterest and HealthLandscape as a Way to Share Your Community Data

Have a Pinterest account? HealthLandscape does too. We just set ours up a week or so ago, so we can begin to showcase some of our tools and current projects. (Look for it to build out over time.)

Pinterest has taken hold because it harnesses the power of visual communication. Any image can be pinned—a photo, ad, infographic, data visualization, or video—and it will grab your viewer's attention quicker than words alone would.

So have you thought about using Pinterest as a way to share your mapped data? Your map + Pinterest could equal more traffic to your web site and more of your data getting out into the community!

Simply follow these steps:
  • Develop your map in HealthLandscape using our QuickGeocodes, QuickThemes, or Community HealthView tool.
  • Save the file.
  • Upload the finished file to your organization's Pinterest site. 
  • Be sure to add a description of the map and some creative copy that links to your organization's web site.
  • Anticipate referral traffic!
We created a QuickMap of population change data in the Detroit area and posted it on our Pinterest site as an example. Follow us there and see how Pinterest + HealthLandscape can work for you!

Monday, April 2, 2012

"Obesity and Food Insecurity" Published in Appalachian Health and Well-Being

Congratulations to Jennifer Chubinski, Director of Community Research at The Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati, and our own Mark Carrozza, Health Informatics Developer at HealthLandscape, on publication of their chapter "Obesity and Food Insecurity" in the book Appalachian Health and Well-Being.

Their chapter examines the linkages between food scarcity and obesity in Appalachian rural and urban areas and, in particular, the Cincinnati area. Jennifer and Mark present the data as well as their recommendations for policy solutions and further research.
Appalachian Health and Well-Being is edited by Robert L. Ludke, Ph.D., a professor in University of Cincinnati's Department of Family and Community Medicine, and Phillip J. Obermiller, Ph.D., a senior visiting scholar in the School of Planning within University of Cincinnati's College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP), and a fellow at the Appalachian Center, University of Kentucky. It is published by the University Press of Kentucky, and is available now from in both hardcover and Kindle format.