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Pop health dashboard gives U.S. cities access to key data


An initiative that aims to expand the use of population health strategies has received funding to be used in 500 U.S. cities.

An initiative that aims to expand the use of population health strategies has received funding to be used in 500 U.S. cities.

The City Health Dashboard derives city-level health data by analyzing national-level datasets from multiple agencies, including the U.S. Census Bureau, the CDC, and the Environmental Protection Agency. The dashboard was piloted earlier this year, with health data from Flint, Michigan; Kansas City, Kansas; Providence, Rhode Island; and Waco, Texas. A $3.4 million award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will expand the dashboard to be available to cities with 70,000 or more people.


“The dashboard doesn’t use patient data but rather national datasets representing all residents of a particular city, not just those seeking care,” says Marc Gourevitch, MD, MPH, chair of the department of population health at New York University (NYU) Langone Health and lead on the City Health Dashboard. The dashboard was created by the department of population health at NYU Langone Medical Center and the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service at NYU, in partnership with the National Resource Network.

Anyone will have access to the website that houses the dashboard, but the creators hope that policy makers and community leaders will use the information to make better decisions for the people they serve. During the pilot testing, the dashboard was used by a Texas nonprofit group to help develop programs that address high teen pregnancy rates.

“We hope the site will serve as a platform for cities to share and gather knowledge to improve outcomes on some of the most pressing health challenges our society faces,” Gourevitch says.

Creators of the dashboard say that though more than 80% of people in the United States live in urban areas, there has been no other mechanism that compiles health-related information in a standardized way to help local leaders make the best decisions.

“Community leaders want accurate, actionable, and precise data to advance initiatives that improve health, bring down costs, and focus on community wellbeing. We’re excited to be at the vanguard of providing this important information to cities across the country,” Gourevitch says.

Users will be able to compare data in peer cities and neighborhoods, and offer them tools to track performance and conduct advanced data interfacing. Data available includes obesity rates, primary care physician coverage, housing affordability rates, high school graduate rates, food access and opioid deaths. In total, 26 measures of health and health determinants are available on each city-some data will be available on a neighborhood level. The 26 measures related to health are represented across five domains: health outcomes, health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors and physical environment.

“No new software or hardware is required,” Gourevitch says, adding that he hopes the expanded website will be completed by summer 2018. “The rollout will be of a new, user-aligned website with a range of features to allow for exploration and visualization of the data.”

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