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Herding Colorado Health Indicators

December 6, 2011

Editor's note: Alison Grace Bui is the Public Health Data Coordinator in the Health Statistics Section at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). She provides technical assistance to data users on local data and specifically assists local health agencies working on community health assessments. 

Wouldn’t it be great if you could find data from the American Community Survey, Colorado Department of Education, Colorado Bureau of Investigation, CDPHE, and more all in one place? And search it by county? And download that data into Excel? Well, now you can.

CDPHE recently launched the Colorado Health Indicators website. This website provides county, regional and state-level data on a variety of health, environmental and social topics. The dataset was created as part of the Colorado Health Assessment and Planning System (CHAPS,) which is a standard process established to help local public health agencies meet assessment and planning requirements. The data are specifically designed to be useful for anyone who needs Colorado health data for a community health assessment or for other research purposes.

The data are organized based on the Health Equity Model, which takes into account a wide range of societal factors to provide a comprehensive perspective on community health. This model groups the social determinants of health into four categories: life course perspective, determinants of health, health factors and population health outcomes.

The new website contains more than 200 data points and includes several technical and supportive features. An interpretation guide to help make sense of the data includes questions to consider when analyzing data, a list of related indicators and links to additional resources. Also, each data point has an accompanying document that provides details such as definitions, calculations, data source limitations and much more. Additionally, export features allow users to download data as well as images of charts with confidence intervals. (And true data geeks know how hard it is to graph confidence limits!)

This website was truly designed with end users in mind. It provides a wealth of information with an easy-to-use interface. But most important, data are presented with a holistic approach to understanding community health with all the supporting documentation to utilize this approach to health assessment. Let us know what you think.