The Health Indicators Warehouse, which provides access to high quality data to improve the understanding of a community’s health status and determinants to help facilitate the prioritization of interventions is updating their repository of health indicators with new data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). For the first time ever the Health Data Indicators Warehouse is being updated with four-year estimates from 2007 – 2010 for 174 CMS health indicators. In addition to new data being added for the existing 164 indicators, such as Diabetes Medicare beneficiaries, Heart attack Medicare beneficiaries or Depression Medicare beneficiaries, 10 new indicators are being released. New indicators include Federally Qualified Health Center and Rural Health Clinic visits, Asthma for Medicare beneficiaries, and Hypertension for Medicare beneficiaries.
The additional data will display multiple year information for one indicator on a page allowing users to identify trends in the indicator data over time. Unique to CMS data is the ability to filter data by not only by State, but by Hospital Referral Region (HRR). HRR is unique in that it provides low level geographic data on where patients are going for treatment based on hospital location. HRR level data, unlike county data can overlap multiple States. Through the Health Indicators Warehouse, users can map and compare geographic areas.
Updated and new data from CMS will provide users with an opportunity to look at trends and analyze health at a specific point in time. Some of the most value of the data comes from mashing up multiple indicators, for example taking Diabetes Medicare beneficiaries (percent) indicator and comparing it with the Diagnosed diabetes (percent) indicator to compare rates based on age and geography to see if rates correlate with some external factor, like number or geographic location of fast food restaurants in a given area. The new CMS data is exciting and provides users with a great opportunity to dive into the health of a given area. For developers out there, remember that the Health Indicators Warehouse has an Application Programming Interface (API), making the data machine readable allowing for easier incorporation of the data in web and mobile applications.