The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently launched Data.CDC.gov. This new data repository:
- Provides health data in easily accessible formats, including API
- Works with programs to release data for mobile apps and other innovative tools
- Increases the public’s access to health data
- Allows users to filter and syndicate data
- Provides an interface to create data visualizations, including bar charts, trend lines, and maps
It hosts some of the CDC’s most popular data including:
- Tobacco use prevalence
- Flu vaccination coverage
- Leading causes of death
- Health care access
- Web site traffic
Energizing Health Data
The highlight of this new site, however, is how it enables people to use and repurpose CDC data to help tell a story or solve a specific problem. Resources like Data.CDC.gov and CDC’s Content Syndication platform allow communication products to use and repurpose the best content produced by the government. This includes copy, video, audio, infographics, eCards, data, and data visualizations.
Data is only useful if it conveys a specific, actionable message. Content is only useful if it is accurate and delivered to the target audience. The more a person relates to the message, the more likely that person is to remember and act upon it. Energizing health data can help improve health outcomes!
Through Data.CDC.gov, we deliver the appropriate messages about health, wellness, surveillance and prevention, based on the current data, just in time and at the right location. This makes the Winnable Battles of eliminating tobacco use, healthcare-associated infections, and motor vehicle injuries, improving food safety and immunization coverage and reducing teen pregnancy become even more winnable.
We call this energizing data –sending information anywhere it is needed, combining it with content, and doing things that it couldn’t do on its own…bringing data to life!
Partnering with States
Opening our data builds capacity in state and local health departments by providing free, evidence based health content for reuse while we do the maintenance. We will soon give these partners the capacity to localize materials for their audiences, either by combining with additional local messaging or controlled adaptation based on CDC data.
We’re working with the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) to pilot the program. By allowing them to syndicate their content to their local health departments or share with other states ODH can use content produced on the local level by sharing it from one local health department to another. Since there are no geographic boundaries on the internet, the Maricopa County Department of Public Health in Arizona could use material produced by Union County, Ohio once included in our repository.
Private Sector Innovation
Open government/open data also allows our commercial health care stakeholders to take this to the next level by sending our science based health messages and content directly to patients and consumers. This can be through electronic health records (EHR), personal health records (PHR) systems, or health monitoring applications and devices.
Though CDC has shared syndicated content and released data to the public for years, Data.CDC.gov is our first step in the “open data through RESTful API” arena on a consolidated, agency-wide level. The value to the public health system is the efficient reuse of quality, evidence-based health messaging regardless of type or source delivering it to the public and tailoring by data. The more data, content and partners we have, the greater the value to us all.