Website provides Indiana health stats

2013-03-14T17:00:00Z 2013-03-15T09:31:03Z Website provides Indiana health statsBy Vanessa Renderman vanessa.renderman@nwi.com, (219) 933-3244 nwitimes.com

A new website, launched with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gives Hoosiers a look at the state of their health.

The Indiana INdicators website, www.indianaindicators.org, offers indicators of health, from traffic injury mortality numbers to primary care physician ratios.

The site has state and community dashboards, allowing users to see how Indiana compares to other states and how counties within Indiana compare to the rest of the state, health wise. 

Dr. Joan Duwve, chief medical officer for the Indiana State Department of Health, said health officials thought it would be advantageous to have a central location where people can browse information and have an idea of the health of their community.

"There really wasn't any specific place people could go for county-specific information," she said. 

Duwve said she remembers talking four years ago with health department epidemiologists about needing to brainstorm a way to share the wealth of data that is collected. 

"How do we steer this in a meaningful way for the citizens of Indiana?" she said. "The more informed you are, the more likely you are to make good health decisions."

The timing worked, with the Affordable Care Act adjusting requirements for nonprofit hospitals to maintain their tax status.

The ISDH, Indiana Hospital Association, Indiana Business Research Center and Indiana University Public Policy Institute partnered to provide the website.

"Much of it is linking data that already exists," said JoBeth McCarthy-Jean, Communities Partnership coordinator for the Division of Chronic Disease Prevention and Control with the state department of health. "The state department of health has been struggling to pull all this information together in a meaningful way."

The website has multiple ways people can find and compare data.

Interactive maps allow users to view statewide locations for trauma centers, liquor stores, farmers markets, hospitals, grocery stores and more.

Radius profiles display data within a geographic range the user selects.

An industry overview search within a 10-mile radius of Crown Point's 46307 ZIP code, for example, links to data from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, showing NiSource, Macy's and Lake Central High School as top employers in the area.

The site includes a link called Promising Practices. It lists ways health issues in other parts of the country are being addressed.

Reading programs, food scrap recycling efforts, healthy eating initiatives and domestic violence intervention services are among those listed.

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