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The Community Health Data Initiative: Now, With Mashups!

The Community Health Data Initiative: Now, With Mashups!

Picture of Barbara Feder Ostrov

Interested in mashing up health data to report on your community? A new federal community health data initiative launched today may help.

Here's more from the U.S. Health and Human Services Agency:

The Community Health Data Initiative is a major new public-private effort that aims to help Americans understand health and health care performance in their communities – and to help spark and facilitate action to improve performance

We will be providing to the public, free of charge and without any intellectual property constraint, a Community Health Data Set harvested from across HHS – a wealth of easily accessible, standardized, structured, downloadable data on health care, health, and determinants of health performance at the national, state, regional, and county levels, as well as by age, gender, race/ethnicity, and income (where available). This data set will consist of hundreds (ultimately, thousands) of measures of health care quality, cost, access and public health (e.g., obesity rates, smoking rates, etc.), including data produced for the Community Health Status Indicators, County Health Rankings, and State of the USA programs.

You can download some of this data now, and HHS promises to have an easier-to-use data portal up and running by the end of this year. Developers have already created some interesting new apps that mash up this data, although how useful they'll be for journalists remains to be seen.

The Community Health Data Initiative is already getting quite a bit of media attention. You can find coverage and analysis from Susannah Fox of the Pew Internet Center here, Craig Newmark of Craigslist here, Steve Downs of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation here, Alex Howard of O'Reilly Radar here, and Gautham Nagesh of the Hill here.

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