Health IT

Cool technology of the week: Digital dashboards of community health data

John Halamka writes: “Having community snapshots like these for every county in America would make choosing a healthy place to live much easier.”

Dr. John D. Halamka is chief information officer and dean for technology at Harvard Medical School who writes at Life as a Healthcare CIO.

More from Life as a Healthcare CIO

Before I became the CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess, I was the Executive Director of the CareGroup Center for Quality and Value, responsible for dashboards and business intelligence for BIDMC and several other hospitals. Building dashboards is challenging. Data must be acquired from multiple sources, cleaned up, normalized, and analyzed. Displaying data in a form that is actionable takes talent, such as per the work of Edward Tufte.

Analyzing community health data provides policymakers with guidance to prioritize funding and public programs. The Healthcare Communities Institute has developed a set of visual dashboards that are my cool technology of the week.

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Check out:

Click on See all Indicators.

You’ll find some amazing data on the environment, disease prevalence, safety, and education with speedometer-like gauges.

Marin County has a great environment and quality of life, but does have issues with drug and alcohol use.

Having community snapshots like these for every county in America would make choosing a healthy place to live much easier. Sites like Sperling’s Best Places provide cost of living, schools, crime, and climate info, but do not really describe the lifestyle and attitudes toward health in each locale.

Dashboards for healthy living on the web – that’s cool.

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