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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a government agency that was set up to protect health and promote quality of life through the prevention and control of disease, injury, and disability. Part of its work is to harvest expertise and information that will allow it to create tools that people and communities need to protect their health.
The CDC’s Disability and Health Program promotes health and wellness amongst people with disabilities. Presenting state level data on the health and health outcomes of people with disabilities is an important part of the program and has led to the development of Disability and Health Data System (DHDS). This is a state level disability surveillance tool designed to assist partners, researchers and the general public in the assessment of the health and wellness of people with disabilities.
This tool was developed by the CDC in the Division of Human Development and Disability (DHDD) at the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD). It was developed under the direction of Brian Armour, Alissa Cyrus, and Michelle Sloan of the Disability Research and Epidemiology Team within the DHDD.
The team behind the tool explains that data visualization has played an important part in its development. “One of our aims was to allow users to pull up information on health outcomes for people with disabilities in an easy-to-access way,” says Brian Armour.
“The CDC had a customisable solution but we felt this was going to be too expensive to develop. We heard about InstantAtlas by word of mouth and having seen it we liked the idea that we would be able to make changes and updates easily as the site evolved.”
Brian says that getting the data ready to use took some time because of its sheer volume. The DHDS features three types of data: disability, psychological distress, and disability-associated health care expenditures all of which has been compiled over a five year period.
The site was developed so data can be viewed in interactive maps and in data tables. Information is presented to users in a variety of accessible formats, including: standard- or high-contrast interactive maps and data tables that can be customized or downloaded. The data are also organised into overarching categories that are further split into specific health outcomes such as smoking, body mass index, and alcohol use.
Meeting the need
“The tool was built with our partners in mind and this meant it had to be user-friendly, customisable and the data had to be easy to find,” says Brian. “We anticipated there would be users outside these groups who were lower-level users of statistical information. We also worked very hard with key users, particularly people with disabilities. That led us to develop high-contrast maps that were easier for users with visual impairments to see. We have also included easy-to-understand information about how to use the tool,” says Brian.
“We have had really good response. In particular, people have said that they are happy with the data that is available. This is the first time they have been able to access state–level disability data, so it is meeting a previously unmet need.”
Along with the positive feedback, some individuals have also made suggestions for additions that could be included. “Using InstantAtlas has positioned us well and we are seen as an innovator by other health programs. We have had a number of them ask us for demonstrations and help with developing their own data systems.”
The last big development for the team was to include profiles that allow states to assess the health of people with disabilities across a number of indicators for each state. This is important for those states looking to meet US public health goals and to monitor performance.
Other benefits are:
HTML5 Double Map - Income Level by Disability Status by State
Other CDC Divisional Public Health Reports
Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EDHI)
FluVaxView Influenza Vaccination Coverage
The Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Program to simplifies the presentation of annual data from states and territories about infants screened for and diagnosed with hearing loss.
Influenza vaccination coverage estimates by State, HHS Region, and the United States, National Immunization Survey-Flu (NIS-Flu) and Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), 2010-11 through 2014-15 influenza seasons
US Diabetes Atlas
The CDC County Data application allows you to view data and trends of diagnosed diabetes, obesity, and leisure-time physical inactivity at the national, state, and county levels
SchoolVaxView is a source for data, information, and news about school vaccination coverage from state and territory reports of the estimated number of children in childcare, kindergarten, and middle school who have received vaccinations recommended or
required by their state
The Centre for Diseases Control’s diabetes atlas gets a nod of approval from a leading technology journalist
CDC Diabetes Interactive Atlas
Article by Kirtland KA, Burrows NR, Geiss LS.
The Diabetes Interactive Atlas is a recently released Web-based collection of maps that allows users to view geographic patterns and examine trends in diabetes and its risk factors over time across the United States and within states...
Extract from Blog post Dec 2nd 2014
Some may remember we have previously highlighted the Centre for Diseases Control (CDC) and the use of InstantAtlas interactive mapping software to present information on diabetes. The CDC’s interactive atlas allows the user to view data and trends for diagnosed diabetes (new and existing cases), obesity, and leisure-time physical inactivity at national, state, and county levels.
The atlas has now been mentioned in a book by freelance technology journalist Pam Baker. The book called Data Divination: Big Data Strategies features a number of case studies showing how organisations are using big data to their advantage. Baker uses her understanding of analytics and how that applies to data. She details the strategies that business leaders need to make sense of big data for their organisations.
Other health stories that may interest you
National Obesity Observatory - "Publishing a set of e-atlases to examine data on obesity & associated diseases for adults and children"
International Diabetes Federation (IDF) - “Taking the renowned Diabetes Atlas on to the world’s digital stage using an online data visualization tool”
Missouri Cancer Registry - “Using data visualization to target resources effectively and reduce the burden of cancer“
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