Thursday, October 31, 2013

Agenda Announced for Data! Fostering Health Innovation in Kentucky and Ohio Conference

Data! Fostering Health Innovation in Kentucky and Ohio

Tuesday, November 19, 2013, 9:30 am to 4:00 pm ET

Northern Kentucky University METS Center


Have you registered yet? You can still get in, but we need your reservation by November 9.

The Data! Fostering Health Innovation in Kentucky and Ohio conference will showcase novel and effective uses of health data in the Kentucky-Ohio region. We'll welcome keynote speakers Dwayne Spradlin (CEO of the Health Data Consortium) and Damon Davis (Director of the Health Data Initiative of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services).

The conference is organized around Thomas R. Frieden's Health Impact Pyramid. The Health Impact Pyramid is a framework that describes different types of public health interventions. Interventions at the base of the pyramid (socioeconomic factors) have potential to impact the greatest number of people; interventions at the top of the framework (counseling and education) require more work on an individual level. (Click here to read a great blog post by Jennifer Chubinski, Director of Community Research at Interact for Health, which presents readers' suggestions on how to apply the pyramid.)

Panel sessions will address three of the five tiers of the Health Impact Pyramid.

Socioeconomic Factors Panel: moderated by Ross Meyer, Vice President, Community Impact, United Way of Greater Cincinnati
  • Simplifying Data to Drive Health and Productivity Strategies: Craig Osterhues, Manager, Health Services, GE Aviation
  • UDS Mapper: Jennifer Rankin, Geospatial Informatics Senior Analyst, Robert Graham Center
  • Exploring the Facts Matter Data Portal: Eric Rademacher, Co-Director, Institute for Policy Research, University of Cincinnati
Changing the Context Panel: moderated by Gabriela Alcalde, Health Policy Director, The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky
  • Mapping Louisville's Urban Trees: Collecting Baseline Data for a Healthier Community: Pat Smith, Community Planner and Evaluation Researcher with REACH Evaluation and Director, City Collaborative
  • Food Deserts in Hamilton County: Chris Auffrey, Associate Professor, School of Planning, University of Cincinnati
  • Exploring Access to Walking and Biking Trails Using Sidewalk Audits and Participatory Mapping: Michael Topmiller, Doctoral Candidate, Department of Geography, University of Cincinnati and GIS Data Specialist, HealthLandscape, LLC
  • The Cincinnati Bike Flash Map Campaign: Using a Crowd Source Strategy to Map Bike Routes in Cincinnati: Gayle Foster, Project Administrator, Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments
Long-Lasting Protective and Clinical Interventions: moderated by Karen Bankston, Associate Dean of Clinical Practice, Partnership, and Community Engagement, University of Cincinnati College of Nursing
  • Louisville Asthmapolis Project, Civic Health Data: Citizen as Sensors: Ted Smith, Chief of Economic Growth and Innovation, Louisville Metro Government
  • M2M Online Delivery: Healthcare's Next Megatrend: Chuck Thornbury, Founder, meVisit Technologies
  • Overview of the Health Benefit Exchange, KyNect: Carrie Banahan, Executive Director, and Bill Nold, Deputy Executive Director, Kentucky Office of the Health Benefit Exchange
And we'll announce the winner of our infographic competition!

We invite your participation on November 19. Lunch is provided, and you'll have an opportunity for roundtable discussions with the panelists.

Only a few spots remain, so register today!

Please note: The conference is co-sponsored by HealthLandscape, Interact for Health, and the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. Registration is free, but we must assess a $75 cancellation charge for any guest who cancels after November 9.

Monday, October 28, 2013

When Do I Use QuickThemes? When Do I Use QuickGeocodes?

Have you ever tried plugging your own data into HealthLandscape and not gotten the results you expected? This happened to one of our users recently. After a quick phone call, we realized we needed to offer some clarification on using QuickThemes and QuickGeocodes.

QuickThemes and QuickGeocodes are two of HealthLandscape's most powerful and popular tools. Both tools:
  • Enable you to upload your own data and create your own maps.
  • Require no GIS expertise to use them.
  • Are free for small data sets. Simply log in to to get started and select either QuickThemes or QuickGeocodes from the Tools menu.
There is one major difference between the two tools:
  • QuickThemes requires aggregate data.
  • QuickGeocodes requires address (a.k.a. point-level) data.
This is important, because if you upload the wrong kind of data into the tool, the tool will not work.

Aggregate data "rolls up" individual pieces of data into one collection--a summary, if you will. You see information that applies to a geographical area (sometimes called a geography) rather than to individuals within the geography. It's impossible to garner person- or site-specific information from aggregate data.

Address data (a.k.a. point-level data) is very specific. In GIS terms, it can be displayed as a single point on a map. The point could represent the address of a school, the address of a farmer's market, or even the address of a specific person. Because of that specific address, anyone who views the map can figure out a lot about that person or site. You have to be careful about how you use point-level data. You don't want to inadvertently invade someone's privacy or misuse their data.

Here's a scenario that might further clarify the difference. Perhaps you work for a community health agency that provides on-site clinic care, but also offers in-home support to selected patients. You have a spreadsheet that contains the addresses for every patient you have served over the past year. When would it make sense to use QuickThemes, and when would it be better to use QuickGeocodes?

You might use QuickThemes when you want to see which Zip codes or counties most of your clients come from, or if you're trying to figure out where to locate a new clinic site. Take the spreadsheet, total the number of patients from each county, and map those totals against the corresponding county. You could also tally other demographic information, such as race, insurance status, employment status, or other data variables you collect.

The map might look something like this:

QuickThemes maps aggregate data
Map created using HealthLandscape's QuickThemes tool.
QuickThemes creates maps of aggregate data.
You might use QuickGeocodes when you are trying to understand where patients with asthma or diabetes are located. You could display those addresses on a map, and send a diabetes educator to visit homes of patients' whose glucose levels exceed a certain threshold.
The map might look something like this:

QuickGeocodes maps point-level data
Map created using HealthLandscape's QuickGeocodes tool.
QuickGeocodes creates maps of point-level data.

Twice a month, we offer free "Introduction to HealthLandscape" webinars to help you use HealthLandscape effectively in your context. All of our webinars are live, so they are perfect opportunities to get clarification and ask questions.

Register today!

Introduction to HealthLandscape
In-depth instruction on using HealthLandscape, our free online mapping tool and data library
Tuesday, October 29, 2:00 pm ET
The Community Data Portal
In-depth demonstration of our award-winning data dissemination tool
Thursday, November 7, 2:00 pm EST
Visualizing Data with HealthLandscape
Overview of all of our data visualization tools, including the Site Performance Explorer
Wednesday, November 20, 2:00 pm ET

Monday, October 14, 2013

New GIS Visualization: The Inpatient Hospital Costs Explorer

Today we are at the Esri Health Conference in Cambridge, Mass., presenting the Inpatient (IP) Hospital Costs Explorer. The IP Hospital Costs Explorer, one of our newest visualizations, lets users compare US hospitals on two measures:
  • Price
  • Quality
The IP Hospital Costs Explorer combines two data sets: Medicare Provider Charge Data (Inpatient), which was just released in May, and Hospital Compare Patient Survey Data (from Patients, their families and caregivers, and clinicians can use the Explorer to make an informed decision about which hospital may provide the best care experience.

Users begin by choosing a geographic area. (The version shown has selected indicators for Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana.) A green circle indicates hospitals with low costs, yellow indicates hospitals with moderate costs, and red indicates hospitals with high costs.

The Inpatient (IP) Hospital Costs Explorer showing hospitals with low (green),
medium (yellow), and high (red) costs for the top 100 Medicare diagnosis-related groups.

When users click one of the circles, flyout menus appear that give more detail about the cost of specific covered charges. (The data set includes selected indicators from the 100 most common Medicare DRGs.) There is also a flyout menu that shows patient satisfaction survey results. This is particularly helpful when costs are similar between two hospitals.

Flyout menus give additional detail about hospital costs and patient satisfaction survey results for each hospital.
The IP Hospital Costs Explorer also includes the Medicare Data Portal, which presents data from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare (CMS) Geographic Variation database and the Chronic Conditions warehouse at the hospital referral region (HRR) level. Users can visualize the data through maps, graphs, and charts, and can also examine the relationship between two indicators using comparison tools.

The Medicare Data Portal, showing the prevalence of Alzheimer's Disease by hospital referral region.
The Columbus, Ohio, hospital referral region is highlighted.

Learn more about the IP Hospital Costs Explorer and other HealthLandscape GIS visualizations by attending one of our free live webinars:

Visualizing Data with HealthLandscape
Overview of all of our data visualization tools, including the Site Performance Explorer
Tuesday, October 22, 2:00 pm ET
Introduction to HealthLandscape
In-depth instruction on using HealthLandscape, our free online mapping tool and data library
Tuesday, October 29, 2:00 pm ET
The Community Data Portal
In-depth demonstration of our award-winning data dissemination tool
Thursday, November 7, 2:00 pm EST

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Three Reasons Interactive GIS Data Visualizations Get Your Message Across Faster

Last week, we were among the featured innovators at an event that brought together emerging life science companies, prospective investors, policymakers, and other people who want to significantly improve health in the Greater Cincinnati region.

We set up in a beautifully appointed conference room and began rolling a video that highlighted several of the HealthLandscape tools on a giant LED monitor. Our presentation commanded the audience's attention.

Why? What was so compelling about these interactive maps?

We noticed that almost every person who stepped into the room engaged with what they were seeing in the same three ways:

They immediately had a frame of reference.

What did they look for first? Their neighborhood. Their community. Their landmarks. They quickly found where they belonged, and shifted their focus to the data we were presenting. We didn't have to spend time setting up the context. They already had it.

They immediately began looking for patterns.

People began asking questions and making observations: Why are so many clustered in that area? What does that shading represent? That's not what I would have expected there. I'm surprised that number isn't higher. People quickly began trying to make sense of the complex data. Seeing the data geographically energized and engaged them.

They immediately wanted to take the data further.
Once the initial observations were made, the audience wanted to dig deeper. They wanted to find meaning in the data. They wanted to not just observe a pattern but also understand why the pattern might be occurring. Is there a high level of unemployment in that area? What about poverty? Does that cluster of people with severe heart disease have access to a hospital? Because of HealthLandscape's interactive design and full library of community data, their questions could be addressed as their mental wheels were turning, while they were beginning to imagine ways to meet the identified need.
Our minds process visual information more quickly than textual information. One writer demonstrates this by placing a drawing of a circle next to a paragraph of text that gives a definition of a circle. Which do you have to work harder to understand: the image or the definition? And which will you remember?

Which do you understand more quickly--the map or the table? Both show the same data.

While any visualization has the potential to be "sticky," GIS visualizations go one step further because viewers have the potential to make a personal connection with the data. Your audience, whether it is a community of care providers, policymakers, funders, or the very people you serve, look for where they are in relation to the data, and ask, "How does this affect me?"

To learn more about HealthLandscape's interactive GIS data visualizations, attend one of our regularly scheduled webinars:

The Community Data Portal
In-depth demonstrations of our award-winning data dissemination tool
Thursday, October 3, 2:00 pm ET
Introduction to HealthLandscape
In-depth instruction on using HealthLandscape, our free online mapping tool and data library
Tuesday, October 8, 2:00 pm ET
Visualizing Data with HealthLandscape
Overview of all of our data visualization tools, including the Site Performance Explorer
Tuesday, October 22, 2:00 pm ET