Online tool expands access to information
According to WacoTrib, about a third of the nation’s population can now browse location-specific information about health and the factors that drive it, through a service Waco helped the pilot.
City Health Dashboard has worked for the past year with the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District and Prosper Waco, along with three other cities, to develop a tool intended to inform leaders in the 500 most populous U.S. cities about how factors including education, wealth and location connect to health.
The Department of Population Health at New York University launched the pilot with Waco; Flint, Michigan; Kansas City, Kansas; and Providence, Rhode Island, with 26 measures and, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, has expanded cityhealthdashboard.com to include 36 measures for 500 cities, according to the website.
Health is about more than going to the doctor, health district spokesperson Kelly Craine said. It is also about everything between doctor’s visits, she said. The site offers various metrics on social and economic factors, physical environment, health behaviors, health outcomes and clinical care. The transparency alone is important, Craine said. The site details where and when information was collected, she said.
“It goes really deep,” Craine said. “Get on there and explore it. For the numbers people, they just go crazy over it.” One of the major strengths of the site is that it presents data specific to neighborhoods or ZIP codes and allows comparisons between cities or neighborhoods, said Brittany Fitz-Chapman, Prosper Waco’s data, and research director.
“Everyone involved is a super data nerd like me,” Fitz-Chapman said. “At the bottom of every page is a tip and caution section to make sure you understand this data is an average over three years, or, make sure you understand different components of the data. It really kind of walks you through all the components of the data to help the user understand what they’re looking at.”