Indiana: Sharing Community Health Information Through Indiana INdicators
Indiana hospitals and health departments use health indicators to help prioritize their work projects. A health indicator is a piece of information about a health topic that can be described using numbers—such as how many babies are born each year, how far someone lives from a grocery store, or how many people smoke. A single community can have hundreds of health indicators.
Indiana’s hospitals and health departments wanted to share information about health indicators with everyone in their communities. Sharing information would help community members and health professionals pick the most important projects to improve the health of Indianans. The state used Preventive Health and Health Services (PHHS) Block Grant funding in 2013 and 2014 to build a website where anyone can access health indicator data: Indiana INdicators (www.indianaindicators.orgExternal).
Indiana INdicators lists more than 90 health indicators and has information for all counties in the state. Examples of these indicators include the number of people without health insurance, births to teen mothers, number of smokers, number of people who see a dentist once a year, and deaths from different types of cancer. People, especially those who work in health fields, can use the site to compare health information about one county to the same information about other counties, the state, or the nation. The website lets users create maps of health indicators for a county, township, or school district; the site also gives information about the populations of counties, large cities, and health districts. The state health department posts project data it collects so that information is publicly available to show how well the state is meeting its health goals. Staff save time by not having to answer as many questions from local health departments about health indicators.
More than 5,000 people have visited Indiana INdicators every year since it was launched. The Indiana State Health Department is continuing to add new health indicators to the site so hospitals, health departments, and communities can do an even better job of focusing their efforts.
Story year: 2015