State of the USA, Inc (SUSA), is the organization that’s taking on this task. SUSA is a non-profit organization that will collect data on a broad range of issues, health and beyond. They’ve asked the Institute of Medicine for guidance on the most robust health indicators. And the indicators are (drum roll, please!):
- Life expectancy at birth
- Infant mortality
- Life expectancy at age 65
- Injury related mortality
- Self-reported health status of fair or poor
- Unhealthy days, physical and mental
- Chronic disease prevalence
- Serious psychological distress
- Physical Activity
- Excessive Drinking
- Condom use
- Per capita health spending
- The percent of Americans without health insurance coverage.
- Unmet medical, dental, and prescription drug needs
- Preventive services
- Childhood immunization
- Preventable hospitalizations.
This kind of effort doesn’t come cheap; SUSA’s start-up is being funded by six foundations including: The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Carnegie Corporation of New York, The F.B. Heron Foundation, and The Peter G. Peterson Foundation.
The second health data project to highlight is HealthLandscape, sponsored by the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Robert Graham Center, and The Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati. Think of this like a Dartmouth Health Atlas for consumers. There is a free portion and a subscription portion, the latter of which will accept personal data.
Health Populi’s Hot Points: These projects aren’t doing data for data’s sake. These web-based tools will enable users to interact, to critique, to dialogue about the American health system, warts and all. This is what the web to health 2.0 world is all about: participatory health care.
In this recessionary era, Americans are blessed to private Foundations investing in these projects.
I hope that these services get used beyond policymakers and health data junkies. The designers of these sites made a great attempt to create useful interfaces for real people. They’re built to be used; let’s hope health citizens come to use them.