Thursday, October 31, 2013

Website launched giving free access to wealth of health data

By KHI News Service

The Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City has rolled out a new website designed to be a comprehensive source of health information for a six-county region in Missouri and Kansas.

The website has about 150 data indicators, and it allows users to analyze information down to the census tract.

“And it’s more than just numbers,” said Sarah Hurd, an analyst with the Kansas Health Institute, which helped develop the site. “There is a focus on action.” (The institute is the parent organization of the KHI News Service.)

In a presentation Wednesday, Hurd pointed to the “promising practices” portion of the site, which includes reports from local, national, and international sources. Users can submit their own promising practices.

The site covers the Health Care Foundation service area: Cass, Jackson and Lafayette counties in Missouri, and Johnson, Wyandotte and Allen counties in Kansas.

Officials involved with development of the site said they hope it can help the social service community in applying for grants. But, they said, it’s also meant to be a resource for a variety of users, including providers, government officials and the general public.

The website should prove to be a “wonderful tool” for the community, said Gretchen Kunkel, president of KC Healthy Kids, a nonprofit dedicated to reducing childhood obesity.

She said nonprofit officials are always looking for data.

“Data to help us tell a story of what (is) happening in the community, data that help us understand how we can apply limited resources, and data to help us create understanding and collaboration to bring those resources together so that we can realize a healthier community,” she said.

The site is similar to, sponsored by the Kansas Partnership for Improving Community Health, a collaboration that includes nonprofit, government and university partners.