Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

DocuBase Article: World Health Statistics 2014

DocuBase Article: World Health Statistics 2014.

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From the 19 May 2014 summary at DocuTicker

From Health-related Millennium Development Goals – Summary of Status and Trends:

With one year to go until the 2015 target date for achieving the MDGs, substantial progress can be reported on many health-related goals. The global target of halving the proportion of people without access to improved sources of drinking water was met in 2010, with remarkable progress also having been made in reducing child mortality, improving nutrition, and combating HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.

Between 1990 and 2012, mortality in children under 5 years of age declined by 47%, from an estimated rate of 90 deaths per 1000 live births to 48 deaths per 1000 live births. This translates into 17 000 fewer children dying every day in 2012 than in 1990. The risk of a child dying before their fifth birthday is still highest in the WHO African Region (95 per 1000 live births) – eight times higher than that in the WHO European Region (12 per 1000 live births). There are, however, signs of progress in the region as the pace of decline in the under-five mortality rate has accelerated over time; increasing from 0.6% per year between 1990 and 1995 to 4.2% per year between 2005 and 2012. The global rate of decline during the same two periods was 1.2% per year and 3.8% per year, respectively.

Nevertheless, nearly 18 000 children worldwide died every day in 2012, and the global speed of decline in mortality rate remains insufficient to reach the target of a two-thirds reduction in the 1990 levels of mortality by the year 2015.

Direct link to document (PDF; 2.4 MB)

 

Two tables from the report

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June 28, 2014 Posted by | health AND statistics, Health Statistics, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

[Press release] Health, United States, 2013 includes special section on prescription drugs

From the 14 May 2014 press release

Most common prescription drugs among adults are those for cardiovascular disease and high cholesterol

Photo: Spilled bottle of pills.

About half of all Americans reported taking one or more prescription drugs in the past 30 days during 2007-2010, and 1 in 10 took five or more, according to Health, United States, 2013, the government’s annual, comprehensive report on the nation’s health.

This is the 37th annual report prepared for the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.  The report includes a compilation of health data from state and federal health agencies and the private sector.

This year’s report includes a special section on prescription drugs.  Key findings include:

  • About half of all Americans in 2007-2010 reported taking one or more prescription drugs in the past 30 days.  Use increased with age; 1 in 4 children took one or more prescription drugs in the past 30 days compared to 9 in 10 adults aged 65 and over.
  • Cardiovascular agents (used to treat high blood pressure, heart disease or kidney disease) and cholesterol-lowering drugs were two of the most commonly used classes of prescription drugs among adults aged 18-64 years and 65 and over in 2007-2010.  Nearly 18 percent (17.7) of adults aged 18-64 took at least one cardiovascular agent in the past 30 days.
  • The use of cholesterol-lowering drugs among those aged 18-64 has increased more than six-fold since 1988-1994, due in part to the introduction and acceptance of statin drugs to lower cholesterol.
  • Other commonly used prescription drugs among adults aged 18-64 years were analgesics to relieve pain and antidepressants.
  • The prescribing of antibiotics during medical visits for cold symptoms declined 39 percent between 1995-1996 and 2009-2010.
  • Among adults aged 65 and over, 70.2 percent took at least one cardiovascular agent and 46.7 percent took a cholesterol-lowering drug in the past 30 days in 2007-2010.  The use of cholesterol-lowering drugs in this age group has increased more than seven-fold since 1988-1994.
  • Other commonly used prescription drugs among those aged 65 and older included analgesics, blood thinners and diabetes medications.
  • In 2012, adults aged 18-64 years who were uninsured for all or part of the past year were more than four times as likely to report not getting needed prescription drugs due to cost as adults who were insured for the whole year (22.4 percent compared to 5.0 percent).
  • The use of antidepressants among adults aged 18 and over increased more than four-fold, from 2.4 percent to 10.8 percent between 1988-1994 and 2007-2010.
  • Drug poisoning deaths involving opioid analgesics among those aged 15 and over more than tripled in the past decade, from 1.9 deaths per 100,000 population in 1999-2000 to 6.6 in 2009-2010.
  • The annual growth in spending on retail prescription drugs slowed from 14.7 percent in 2001 to 2.9 percent in 2011.

Health, United States, 2013 features 135 tables on key health measures through 2012 from a number of sources within the federal government and in the private sector.  The tables cover a range of topics, including birth rates and reproductive health, life expectancy and leading causes of death, health risk behaviors, health care utilization, and insurance coverage and health expenditures.
The full report is available at www.cdc.gov/nchs

 

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May 17, 2014 Posted by | health care, Health Statistics | , , | 1 Comment

[Press release] Released prisoners are more likely to suffer early death

From the 13 May press release at Georgia State News

Men who have been incarcerated and released are more than twice as likely to die prematurely as those who have not been imprisoned, according to a new study published by Georgia State University criminologist William Alex Pridemore.

Portrait of William Alex Pridemore

Former prisoners are more likely to die early from infectious and respiratory diseases, drug overdoses and homicides. Causes of this “mortality penalty” include increased exposure to diseases like TB and HIV, the prolonged stress of the prison environment, the disruption of important social bonds and, upon release, the struggle to reintegrate into society and employment.

“We know that stress can weaken immune systems,” Pridemore said. “And in a very unpleasant twist of events, at the precise moment when these men are most vulnerable to a compromised immune system due to stress – that is, when they are incarcerated – they are most exposed to a host of communicable diseases whose rates are much higher in the prison population.”

Pridemore’s empirical analysis of the Izhevsk (Russia) Family Study, was published online this month in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior. Titled “The Mortality Penalty of Incarceration: Evidence from a Population-based Case-control Study of Working Age Males,” it is among the first sociological studies to look at the short- and long-term impacts of incarceration on the mortality of prisoners after their release.

More than 2.5 million people are incarcerated in the United States – 95 percent of whom will eventually be released. Incarceration rates in the United States and Russia, at 730 and 519 per 100,000 residents, are among the highest in the world.

MEDIA CONTACT

Jennifer French Giarratano
404-413-0028
jgiarratano@gsu.edu

“Earlier research looked at the collateral consequences of mass imprisonment that started in the 1970s, when the U.S. went on an incarceration binge. Most focused on incarceration’s limits on job prospects and earnings, marriages and its impact on communities,” he said. “Now research is turning to its impact on health.

“Ironically, prisons provide an opportunity to screen and treat a population that may be unlikely or unable to take advantage of community-based health care,” he continued. “Prisons should work with inmates, prior to their release, and provide health screenings and treatment and help them plan for their short-term and long-term health care needs. This investment will benefit not only the individual health of current and former prisoners, but also taxpayers and the broader community by way of improved population health.

Pridemore’s findings are timely given the recent release of the National Research Council’s report, The Growth of Incarceration in the United States, which has politicians and the public reconsidering mass incarceration.

“Careful research shows that many of the consequences of contact with the penal system – especially the mortality penalty of incarceration – go well beyond what we consider just punishment,” he said.
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William Alex Pridemore is a Distinguished University Professor in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University. His research focuses on the social structure and violence and the sociology of health.

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May 14, 2014 Posted by | Health Statistics, Public Health | , , | Leave a comment

[News article] Health Insurance, Death Rates and the Affordable Care Act

Health Insurance, Death Rates and the Affordable Care Act.

From the 12 May 2014 article at Pew State and Consumer Initiatives

The mortality rate in Massachusetts declined substantially in the four years after the state enacted a law in 2006 mandating universal health care coverage, providing the model for the Affordable Care Act. 

In a study released last week, Harvard School of Public Health professors Benjamin Sommers, Sharon Long and Katherine Baicker conclude that “health reform in Massachusetts was associated with a significant decrease in all-cause mortality.” 

 

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The authors caution that their conclusions, published in Annals of Internal Medicine, may not apply to all states, and other studies have shown little correlation between having insurance and living longer. Nevertheless, the Harvard study adds to a growing body of evidence that having health insurance increases a person’s life expectancy.

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May 13, 2014 Posted by | Health Statistics | , , , | Leave a comment

[Tedx Talk] Truth That Lasts: David Newman at TEDxColumbiaEngineering

Good points about the limits of observational studies and how NNT (number needed to treat) is a good indicator of the efficacy of an intervention. Also good point of how a good preventive diet can often trump medications/surgery. 
Well worth the 18 minutes of viewing.

From the Web site

Published on Sep 29, 2012

Dr. Newman is the Director of Clinical Research in the Emergency Department at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, and an Iraq war veteran. In addition to being widely published in medical journals he has written health care articles for the New York Times and is the author of Hippocrates’ Shadow: Secrets From the House of Medicine. For the past ten years he has concentrated his work in medical evidence translation and appraisal. He is also the editor-in-chief for two online publications, TheNNT.com, a resource for health care evidence summaries, and SMART-EM, a monthly audio review. He lives in New York City with his wife and teaches at both Mount Sinai School of Medicine and at Columbia University.

 

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April 29, 2014 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Statistics | , , , | Leave a comment

[Press release] Alcohol’s role in traffic deaths vastly underreported: Study

Alcohol’s role in traffic deaths vastly underreported: Study.

PISCATAWAY, NJ – It’s no secret that drinking and driving can be a deadly mix. But the role of alcohol in U.S. traffic deaths may be substantially underreported on death certificates, according to a study in the March issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Between 1999 and 2009, more than 450,000 Americans were killed in a traffic crashes. But in cases where alcohol was involved, death certificates frequently failed to list alcohol as a cause of death.

Why does that matter? One big reason is that injuries are the leading cause of death for Americans younger than 45, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And it’s important to have a clear idea of alcohol’s role in those deaths, explained Ralph Hingson, Sc.D., of the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

“We need to have a handle on what’s contributing to the leading cause of death among young people,” Hingson said. What’s more, he noted, researchers need reliable data to study the effects of policies aimed at reducing alcohol-related deaths.

“You want to know how big the problem is, and if we can track it,” Hingson said. “Is it going up, or going down? And what policy measures are working?”

For the new study, I-Jen Castle, Ph.D., and a team led by Hingson focused on traffic deaths because, of all types of accidental fatalities, that’s where researchers have the best data. This is partly because many U.S. states—about half right now—require that fatally injured drivers be tested for blood alcohol levels, and nationwide about 70% of those drivers are tested.

Hingson’s team used a database maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, called the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS)—which contains the blood alcohol levels of Americans killed in traffic crashes. They compared that information with deaths certificate data from all U.S. states.

Overall, they found, death certificates greatly underreported the role of alcohol in traffic deaths between 1999 and 2009: Just over 3 percent listed alcohol as a contributing cause. But based on the FARS figures, 21 percent of those deaths were legally drunk.

The picture varied widely from state to state. In some states—such as Maryland, Nevada, New Hampshire, and New Jersey—alcohol was rarely listed on death certificates. Certain other states did much better, including Delaware, Iowa, Kansas, and Minnesota. It’s not fully clear why alcohol is so often left off of death certificates. One reason could be the time it takes to get blood-alcohol test results back. Coroners or medical examiners usually have to file a death certificate within three to five days, Hingson’s team notes, but toxicology results might take longer than that.

The reasons for the wide variation among states aren’t known either. But Hingson said that’s an important question. “Some states have been pretty successful,” he noted. “What are they doing right?”

It doesn’t seem to be only a matter of passing laws: States that mandate alcohol testing for deceased drivers did not always do better when it came to reporting alcohol as a contributor on death certificates.

Whatever the reasons, Hingson said, the role of alcohol in injury deaths may be seriously underestimated on death certificates. And the situation is likely worse with other types of accidental deaths, such as falls, drug poisoning/overdoses, and drowning, for which there is no mandatory blood alcohol testing or other reporting systems.

Hingson said he thinks testing should be done in those cases as well.

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March 28, 2014 Posted by | Health Statistics | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Press release] Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2012 | Full Text Reports…

Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2012 | Full Text Reports….

This report presents detailed tables from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) for the civilian noninstitutionalized adult population, classified by sex, age, race and Hispanic origin, education, current employment status, family income, poverty status, health insurance coverage, marital status, and place and region of residence. Estimates (frequencies and percentages) are presented for selected chronic conditions and mental health characteristics, functional limitations, health status, health behaviors, health care access and utilization, and human immunodeficiency virus testing. Percentages and percent distributions are presented in both age-adjusted and unadjusted versions.

 

 

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March 28, 2014 Posted by | Health Statistics | , , , | Leave a comment

[Report] Adult illicit drug users are far more likely to seriously consider suicide | Full Text Reports…

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Adult illicit drug users are far more likely to seriously consider suicide 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the 16 January SAMSHA news release ( US Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration)

Adults using illicit drugs are far more likely to seriously consider suicide than the general adult population according to a new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The report finds that 3.9 percent of the nation’s adult population aged 18 or older had serious thoughts about suicide in the past year, but that the rate among adult illicit drug users was 9.4 percent.

According to SAMHSA’s report, the percentage of adults who had serious thoughts of suicide varied by the type of illicit substance used. For example, while 9.6 percent of adults who had used marijuana in the past year had serious thoughts of suicide during that period, the level was 20.9 percent for adults who had used sedatives non-medically in the past year.

“Suicide takes a devastating toll on individuals, families and communities across our nation,” said Dr. Peter Delany, director of SAMHSA’s Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. “We must reach out to all segments of our community to provide them with the support and treatment they need so that we can help prevent more needless deaths and shattered lives.”

Those in crisis or who know someone they believe may be at immediate risk of attempting suicide are urged to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or go to http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org. The Suicide Prevention Lifeline network, funded by SAMHSA, provides immediate free and confidential, round-the-clock crisis counseling to anyone in need throughout the country, every day of the year.

This report, “1 in 11 Past Year Illicit Drug Users Had Serious Thoughts of Suicide,” is based on the findings of SAMHSA’s 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) report. The NSDUH report is based on a scientifically conducted annual survey of approximately 70,000 people throughout the country, aged 12 and older.  Because of its statistical power, it is a primary source of statistical information on the scope and nature of many substance abuse and mental health issues affecting the nation.

The complete survey findings are available on the SAMHSA web site at: http://www.samhsa.gov/data/spotlight/spot129-suicide-thoughts-drug-use-2014.pdf

For more information about SAMHSA visit: http://www.samhsa.gov/.

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February 1, 2014 Posted by | Health Statistics, Psychiatry, Public Health, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

[CDC reports] 2013 Prevention Status Reports

The [2013] Prevention Status Reports (PSRs) highlight—for all 50 states and the District of Columbia—the status of public health policies and practices designed to prevent or reduce important public health problems.

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Related Reports and Analyses

The Guide to Community Preventive ServicesExternal Web Site Icon
A compilation of the evidence-based findings of the Community Preventive Services Task Force showing what works to improve health

County Health Rankings External Web Site Icon
A collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute examining the health and well-being of people living in nearly every county in the United States

America’s Health RankingsExternal Web Site Icon
An annual comprehensive assessment of the nation’s health on a state-by state basis published jointly by the United Health Foundation, American Public Health Association, and Partnership for Prevention

Trust for America’s HealthExternal Web Site Icon
Data on key health indicators and other indicators for each state and the District of Columbia

Healthy People 2020External Web Site Icon
Science-based, 10-year national objectives for improving the health of all Americans

CDC Vital Signs
Recent data and calls to action for important public health issues

 

 

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January 25, 2014 Posted by | Health Statistics | , , , | Leave a comment

[Free Statistics Book] Know Your Chances – NCBI Bookshelf

Ever been scared or made uncomfortable about threats to your health? And solutions that seemed too good to be true?
Here’s a book for just about everyone that can help one understand the statistics behind health information. And how to spot misinformation easily.

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What This Book is About – Know Your Chances – NCBI Bookshelf.

From the intro

Every day we are faced with news stories, ads, and public service announcements that describe health threats and suggest ways we can protect ourselves. It’s impossible to watch television, open a magazine, read a newspaper, or go online without being bombarded by messages about the dangers we face.

Many of the messages are intended to be scary, warning us that we are surrounded by danger and hinting that everything we do or neglect to do brings us one step closer to cancer, heart disease, and death. Other messages are intended to be full of hope, reassuring us that technological miracles and breakthrough drugs can save us all. And many messages do both: they use fear to make us feel vulnerable and then provide some hope by telling us what we can do (or buy) to lower our risk. In addition, as you may suspect, a great many of these messages are wildly exaggerated: many of the risks we hear about are really not so big, and the benefits of many of the miraculous breakthroughs are often pretty small.

As a result, we are often left misinformed and confused. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

The goal of this book is to help you better understand health information by teaching you about the numbers behind the messages—the medical statistics on which the claims are based. The book will also familiarize you with risk charts, which are designed to help you put your health concerns in perspective. By learning to understand the numbers and knowing what questions to ask, you’ll be able to see through the hype and find the credible information—if any—that remains.

Don’t worry: this is not a math book (only a few simple calculations are required). Instead, this is a book that will teach you what numbers to look for in health messages and how to tell when the medical statistics don’t support the message. This book will help you develop the basic skills you need to become a better consumer of health messages, and these skills will foster better communication between you and your doctor.

 

From the book (pages 130-132)

From the book

CREDIBLE SOURCES OF HEALTH STATISTICS

Sources Created Primarily for Consumers BMJ (British Medical Journal) Best Treatments

http://besttreatments.bmj.com/btuk/home.jsp

Medical publishing division of the British Medical Association (no commercial ads allowed). Rates the science supporting the use of operations, tests, and treatments for a variety of conditions. In the United States and Canada, available only with a Consumer Reportssubscription.

Center for Medical Consumers

www.medicalconsumers.org

Independent, nonprofit organization. Offers a skeptical take on health claims and recent health news. Free.

Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs* www.consumerreports.org/health/bestbuy-drugs.htm

Independent, nonprofit organization. Compares the benefits, side effects, and costs of different prescription drugs for the same problem, based on information from the Drug Effectiveness Review Project (see listing on page 131). Free.

Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making*

www.informedmedicaldecisions.org

Independent, nonprofit organization. Offers decision aids that describe the treatment options and outcomes for various conditions in order to promote patient involvement in decision making. DVDs must be purchased at http://www.healthdialog.com/hd/Core/CollaborativeCare/videolibrary.htm.

* Two of us (Drs. Schwartz and Woloshin) are on the advisory board for Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs (unpaid positions). We have been paid consultants reviewing materials for the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making.

Informed Health Online

www.informedhealthonline.org

Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care, an independent, nonprofit organization established by German health care reform legislation. Describes the science supporting the use of operations, tests, and treatments for a variety of conditions. Free.

Ottawa Health Research Institute Patient Decision Aids

http://decisionaid.ohri.ca

Academic affiliate of the University of Ottawa. Provides a comprehensive inventory of decision aids (plus a rating of their quality), and tells patients how to get them. Some are free.

Sources Created Primarily for Physicians and Policy Makers Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

www.ahrq.gov/clinic/epcix.htm

U.S. federal agency under the Department of Health and Human Services. Summarizes all the available data about treatments for specific conditions (look for EPC Evidence Reports). Free.

Cochrane Library

www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/mrwhome/106568753/HOME

International, independent, nonprofit organization of researchers. Summarizes all the available data about treatments for specific conditions (look for Cochrane Reviews). Abstracts free, full reports by subscription.

Drug Effectiveness Review Project (DERP)

www.ohsu.edu/drugeffectiveness/reports/final.cfm

Collaboration of public and private organizations developed by Oregon Health and Science University. Provides comparative data on the benefit, side effects, and costs of different prescription drugs for the same problem (source for Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs). Free.

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)

www.nice.org.uk/guidance/index.jsp?action=byTopic

Independent, nonprofit British organization that advises the British National Health Service. Summarizes all the available data about treatments for specific conditions (look for NICE Guidance). Free.

Physician Data Query (PDQ)—National Cancer Institute

www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq

U.S. federal government (part of the National Cancer Institute). Summa- rizes all the available data about cancer prognosis and treatments (look for Cancer Information Summaries). Free.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Center for Drug Evaluation and Research

www.fda.gov/cder/index.html

U.S. federal agency under the Department of Health and Human Services, which reviews and approves new and generic drugs. To look up individual drugs, go to http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cder/drugsatfda/index.cfm. After you choose a drug from the index, the Drug Details page appears. If you click Approval History, you may be able to access a Review and then a Medical Review. TheMedical Review contains all the relevant randomized trials submitted to the FDA for approval. From the Drug Details page, you can also access Label Information, when it is available (the package insert that comes with prescription drugs and summarizes excerpts of the review documents). Warning: This site can be challenging. The review documents can be hundreds of pages, and there may be multiple entries for the same drug (because it is used for multiple purposes). Free.

US Preventive Services Task Force

www.ahrq.gov/clinic/uspstfix.htm

Independent panel of experts sponsored by AHRQ. Summarizes the available data about preventive services. After you choose a topic, you’ll see the relevant recommendations; at the bottom of the list, you can click Best- Evidence Systematic Review under Supporting Documents. Free.

January 2, 2014 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public), Health Statistics | , | Leave a comment

Resources from the Association of Health Care Journalists

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From the Resource page

The Association of Health Care Journalists offers a wide range of resources – many of which are available exclusively to members.

AHCJ publications include our newsletter, HealthBeat, as well as several guides to covering specific aspects of health and health care.

Members share ideas and ask questions of fellow members on the AHCJ electronic mailing list. Tip sheets are prepared for our conferences and workshops, often offering sources and information about covering specific stories.

Contest entries are from the Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism, recognizing the best health reporting in print, broadcast and online media. We have links to past winners and information culled from questionnaires submitted with the entries about how each story was researched and written.

We include links to some recent reports and studies of interest to our membership, as well as links to Web sites relevant to health care.

Members and other journalists write articles specifically for AHCJ about how they have reported a story, issues that our members are likely to cover and other important topics.

 

 

 

 

December 8, 2013 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public), Health Statistics, Librarian Resources, Medical and Health Research News, Tutorials/Finding aids | , , , , | Leave a comment

[Magazine article] Long-Term Disease Database Proves the Value of Vaccines | Observations, Scientific American Blog Network

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From the 27 December 2013 Scientific American article

To find out when whooping cough started making a comeback in Ohio, or how often measles kills in America, we turn to historical records. But those records aren’t very useful when they’re squirreled away in a distant office basement. The same goes for when they are embedded in a report—you can only look at them in the same way you might admire a painting, but you cannot drop the data into a spreadsheet and hunt for statistical significance. If you are only looking at a couple years’ worth of information that formatting dilemma is not such a big deal. You can scour the data and manually punch it into your analysis. It only becomes a huge problem when you are looking at hundreds or thousands of data points.

Such is the problem that public health experts at University of Pittsburgh encountered when they were exploring old medical data and developing models that predict future outbreaks. “We found ourselves going back and pulling out historical datasets repeatedly. We kept doing it over and over and finally got to the point where we thought it would be not only a service to ourselves but everybody if all the data was made digital and open access,” says Donald Burke, the dean of Pittsburgh’s graduate school of public health.

Four years ago, buoyed by funds from the National Institutes of Health and the Gates Foundation, they started the process of digitalizing 125 years worth of medical records. The endeavor was dubbed Project Tycho, named for the Danish nobleman Tycho Brahe who made the voluminous astronomical observations that Kepler later tapped to develop the laws of planetary motion. (But no pressure, right?)

The online, open-access resource now features accounts of 47 diseases between 1888 and today. It includes data from the weekly Nationally Notifiable Disease Surveillance reports for the United States, standardized in such a way that the data can be immediately analyzed.

In the research world, that’s a big accomplishment. Making this data usable takes more than casually monitoring a scanner while sipping coffee. The data has to be made uniform, a tedious process of manual input with unenviable tasks like removing periods, dashes and other inconsistencies while identifying data gaps.

Pittsburgh researchers also gave their new data trove a test drive to illustrate what could be done with the data. They mined Tycho for information on eight common diseases detailed in the records—polio, measles, rubella, mumps, hepatitis A, diphtheria and pertussis. Looking at available records before and after vaccines were discovered for those diseases, they estimated that 103 million cases of those contagious diseases have been prevented since 1924, (assuming the reductions were all attributable to vaccination programs). Their findings are published in this week’sNew England Journal of Medicine. The data also points to what can happen when communities become too lax about vaccinations (among other factors). They quantified the resurgence in recent years of pertussis throughout the country, particularly in the Midwest to Northwest and in the Northeast and also ongoing cases of mumps. “Reported rates of vaccine refusal or delay are increasing,” the authors write. “Failure to vaccinate is believed to have contributed to the reemergence of pertussis, including the large 2012 epidemic.”

When vaccines work well, sometimes “people no longer fear the disease and they undervalue the vaccine and in some ways that is what is going on right now,” says Burke, pointing to the discredited vaccine-autism link which prompted some parents to turn away from childhood vaccines. With this newly available data collection, more can be done than simply looking at where the disease is happening—or not happening. Researchers can begin looking for drivers of disease and identifying patterns about the burden of disease by say, climate or socioeconomic-status.

Flip through some of the data yourself here after it becomes searchable to the public on November 28.

[One has to register to view data, for institution I just entered private citizen and my registration was accepted.  The database interface is very user friendly!]

Read the entire article here

From the Project Tycho Web site

December 6, 2013 |Project Tycho™ release featured in the New York Times

The release and publication of Project Tycho™ data has been featured in an article of the New York Times online and print version of Thursday November 28th entitled “The Vaccination Effect: 100 Million Cases of Contagious Disease Prevented”. It emphasizes that the large amount of data digitized by the project provides an invaluable resource for science and policy and the importance of vaccination programs in the United States.

December 6, 2013 |Project Tycho™ data available on HealthData.gov

Through a collaboration with the Open Government InitiativeProject Tycho™ data have been listed on HealthData.gov as new open access resource for governmental data. In addition on the listing, HealthData.gov has agreed to host Project Tycho™ level 1 and level 2 data that can each be downloaded from this site as a one CSV file with a single click. Comments on this release have been made in the HealthData.gov blog.

November 28, 2013 |Project Tycho™ Data Version 1.0.0 released for public access

After four years of data digitization and processing, the Project Tycho™ Web site provites open access to newly digitized and integrated data from the entire 125 years history of United States weekly nationally notifiable disease surveillance data since 1888. These data can now be used by scientists, decision makers, investors, and the general public for any purpose. The Project Tycho™ aim is to advance the availability and use of public health data for science and decision making in public health, leading to better programs and more efficient control of diseases. Read full press release.

Three levels of data have been made available: Level 1 data include data that have been standardized for specific analyses, Level 2 datainclude standardized data that can be used immediately for analysis, and Level 3 data are raw data that cannot be used for analysis without extensive data management. See the video tutoral.

November 28, 2013 |A Project Tycho™ study estimates that 100 million cases of contagious diseases have been prevented by vaccination programs in the United States since 1924

In a paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine entitled “Contagious diseases in the United States from 1888 to the present,” aProject Tycho™ study estimates that over 100 million cases have been prevented in the U.S. since 1924 by vaccination programs against polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis A, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough). Vaccination programs against these diseases have been in place for decades but epidemics continue to occur. Despite the availability of a pertussis vaccine since the 1920s, the largest pertussis epidemic in the U.S. since 1959 occurred last year. This study was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Institutes of Health and all data used for this study have been released through the online Project Tycho™ data system as level 1 data.

“Historical records are a precious yet undervalued resource. As Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard said, we live forward but understand backward,” explained Dr. Burke, senior author on the paper. “By ‘rescuing’ these historical disease data and combining them into a single, open-access, computable system, we can now better understand the devastating impact of epidemic diseases, and the remarkable value of vaccines in preventing illness and death.” See an interview with the authors and an animation on the analysis.

December 7, 2013 Posted by | Health Statistics, Public Health | , | Leave a comment

[Infographic] Why Health Care is So Expensive

From Kantar Information is Beautiful Awards 

Original infograhic  here

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November 27, 2013 Posted by | Health Statistics | | Leave a comment

[NCHS Data Brief] Emergency Department Visits by Persons Aged 65 and Over: United States, 2009–2010

The emergency department entrance at Mayo Clin...

The emergency department entrance at Mayo Clinic’s Saint Marys Hospital. The red-and-white emergency sign is clearly visible. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

From the November 2013 [US] National Center for Health Statistics

 

Key findings

Data from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, 2009–2010

  • In 2009–2010, a total of 19.6 million emergency department (ED) visits in the United States were made by persons aged 65 and over. The visit rate for this age group was 511 per 1,000 persons and increased with age.
  • The percentage of ED visits made by nursing home residents, patients arriving by ambulance, and patients admitted to the hospital increased with age.
  • Twenty-nine percent of ED visits by persons aged 65 and over were related to injury, and the percentage was higher among those aged 85 and over than among those aged 65–74 or 75–84.
  • The percentage of ED visits caused by falls increased with age.

From 2000–2010, the number of persons in the United States aged 65 and over rose 15%, from 35.0 million to 40.3 million, and in 2010 this age group represented 13% of the population (1). It is estimated that by 2030, nearly one in five persons will be aged 65 and over (2). Given their growing proportion of the population, older individuals will comprise an increasing share of emergency department (ED) patients in the coming years. This is important because of the ED’s role in treating acute illness and injury in older adults and providing a pathway to these patients for hospital admission (3,4). This report describes ED visits made by individuals aged 65 and over and compares age groups 65–74, 75–84, and 85 and over.

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Read the entire summary here & link to the full text of the article

 

 

 

November 8, 2013 Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety, health care, Health Statistics | , | Leave a comment

New Interactive Map with Information About Individual Community’s Health

From the Web page at  County Health Rankings and Roadmaps **

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Results from my zip code (of 43611)

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For more detailed information at the state and county levels, click on learn more within the images or go to the home page

Also, check out their Tools and Resources page

**The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program is a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

October 25, 2013 Posted by | Health Statistics | , , | Leave a comment

[Gallup Poll] Two in Three Uninsured Americans Plan to Buy Insurance

From the 30 September 2013 Gallup Poll 

 

Less than half say they will use the state or federal exchanges

by Frank Newport and Kyley McGeeney

PRINCETON, NJ — Nearly two in three uninsured Americans say they will get insurance by Jan. 1, 2014, rather than pay a fine as mandated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), while one in four say they will pay the fine. Less than half of the uninsured say they plan on getting health insurance specifically through a federal or state health insurance exchange.

Uninsured Americans' Plans Regarding Health Insurance

Gallup asked a nationally representative sample of 5,099 Americans between Sept. 17-26 about their awareness of several pending ACA provisions and their anticipated healthcare choices in the months ahead. The ACA requires that most Americans get insurance by Jan. 1, 2014, or pay a fine, and advocates of the ACA are urging the uninsured to take advantage of new federal and state health exchanges to obtain health insurance.

Overall, 83% of Americans are aware that most Americans will be required to have health insurance or pay a fine beginning January 2014. This awareness drops to 68% among those who are uninsured, and is at 69% among the vital group of 18- to 29-year-olds who are the most likely of any age group to be uninsured.

Americans' Awareness of the ACA

 

Although the uninsured’s awareness of the individual mandate component of the ACA remains below the national average, it is up by 12 percentage points from a June 20-24 survey, when 56% of uninsured Americans said they were aware of it.

Familiarity With Exchanges Is Low

One of the primary components of the ACA is the creation of government-run health insurance exchanges. These exchanges are essentially websites in each state that provide a central clearinghouse where individuals can review and then purchase health insurance. Consumers can also find out if they qualify, based on their income, for government subsidies of their health insurance premiums. These exchanges are a major part of the ACA and have been heavily featured in ACA promotion.

At this juncture, relatively few Americans — 37% — are familiar with the health exchanges, even though these insurance marketplaces officially open for business on Oct. 1. Familiarity with the exchanges is even lower among the crucial group of Americans who do not have health insurance. In fact, half of the uninsured say they are “not at all familiar” with the exchanges.

And young adults aged 18 to 29 are also less familiar with the exchanges than those who are older.

Americans' Familiarity With Healthcare Exchanges

This low level of familiarity with the exchanges may help explain the finding that less than half of the uninsured say they will get health insurance for 2014 specifically through a state or federal health insurance exchange.

Overall, 66% of the uninsured who plan on getting health insurance rather than pay a fine say they will get insurance through an exchange, leaving the rest who apparently are unsure about how they will get their insurance, or who will seek insurance perhaps through their employer, through Medicare or Medicaid, or buy a plan on their own outside of an exchange.

Implications

Although less than half of the uninsured say they plan on buying health insurance for 2014 through a federal or state exchange, this percentage may well rise in the months ahead for two reasons. First, almost-two thirds of the uninsured say they are more likely to get health insurance rather than pay a fine if they don’t, indicating a demand for insurance that will need to be fulfilled in some fashion over the next three months. Second, current familiarity with the health exchanges among the uninsured is low, and as awareness increases, willingness to use the exchanges may rise as well.

Survey Methods
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Sept. 17-26, 2013, on the Gallup Daily tracking survey, with a random sample of 5,099 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error is ±2 percentage points.

For results based on the total sample of 4,427 adults with health insurance, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error is ±2 percentage points.]

For results based on the total sample of 651 adults without health insurance, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error is ±5 percentage points.]

Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cell phone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by region. Landline telephone numbers are chosen at random among listed telephone numbers. Cell phones numbers are selected using random digit dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.

Samples are weighted to correct for unequal selection probability, nonresponse, and double coverage of landline and cell users in the two sampling frames. They are also weighted to match the national demographics of gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, population density, and phone status (cellphone only/landline only/both, cellphone mostly, and having an unlisted landline number). Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2012 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older U.S. population. Phone status targets are based on the July-December 2011 National Health Interview Survey. Population density targets are based on the 2010 census. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

For more details on Gallup’s polling methodology, visit www.gallup.com.

English: President Barack Obama's signature on...

English: President Barack Obama’s signature on the health insurance reform bill at the White House, March 23, 2010. The President signed the bill with 22 different pens. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

October 21, 2013 Posted by | Health Statistics | , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] With CDC Seasonal Flu Data Unavailable, An Electronic Medical Record Offers a Glimpse of Early Activity Levels

Influenza

Influenza (Photo credit: hesenrre)

From the 13 October 2013 post at The Health Care Blog By IYUE SUNG

As Washington remains deadlocked on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the US government’s shutdown has resulted in the furlough of nearly 70% of the Centers for Disease Control‘s (CDC’s) workforce. CDC Director Tom Frieden recently shared his thoughts in a tweet. We agree whole-heartedly.  Although it’s all too easy to take the CDC staff for granted, they are the frontline sentinels (and the gold standard) for monitoring disease outbreaks.  Their ramp-down could have serious public health consequences.

We are particularly concerned about the apparent temporary discontinuation of the CDC’s flu surveillance program, which normally provides weekly reports on flu activity. Although flu season typically begins in late fall, outbreaks have occurred earlier in previous years. In 2009, flu cases started accumulating in late summer/early fall.  And given the potential for unique variants, such as the swine or avian flu, every season is unpredictable, making the need for regular CDC flu reports essential. We therefore hope to see the CDC restored to full capacity as soon as possible.

In the meantime, we would like to help by sharing data we have on communicable diseases, starting with the flu.


Because the athenahealth database is built on a single-instance, cloud-based architecture, we have the ability to report data in real time. As we have described in earlier posts, the physicians we serve are dispersed around the country with good statistical representation across practice types and sizes.

To get a read on influenza vaccination rates so far this season, we looked at more than two million patients who visited a primary care provider between August 1 and September 28, 2013 (Figure 1).  We did not include data on vaccinations provided at retail clinics, schools or workplaces.

This year’s rates are trending in parallel to rates over the last four years, and slightly below those of the 2012-2013 season. However, immunizations accelerate when the CDC, and consequently the media, announce disease outbreaks and mount public awareness campaigns.

As for the government shutdown, nearly everyone hopes for a quick end.  Should the standoff drag on, detection of the flu (or other diseases) may be delayed, in theory endangering the public. Fortunately, we currently see no evidence of an early influenza outbreak.  But recent history shows that the flu can begin spreading at any time, and once it does begin, it spreads very quickly, as shown in Figure 2.

We believe that our data provides a reliable view of seasonal flu trends. Last year, wewrote about the 2012-2013 flu season and found that patterns in our patient population (consisting of a large proportion of patients receiving immunizations in primary care settings) closely mirrored CDC trends. With that in mind, we believe that sharing our 2013-2014 data would be valuable to the health care community.

Whether our nation’s politicians can come to an agreement tomorrow or next month, we will continue to deliver reports that monitor population health and look ahead to contributing any information we can. If you have any suggestions or comments – on the flu or other diseases where up-to-date data would be valuable – please leave a comment here or e-mail me directly at isung@athenahealth.com.

Iyue Sung is the Director of Core Analytics at athenahealth. The post originally appeared on the athenahealth blog.

October 15, 2013 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health Statistics | , , , , | Leave a comment

New Resource from the NLM: Subject Guides (Health Statistics, Library Statistics, Conference Proceedings)

New Resource from the NLM: Subject Guides

The NLM Reference and Web Services Section, Public Services Division, compiled a select set of subject guides. These guides can serve as research starting points for health professionals, researchers, librarians, students, and others. Each guide lists a variety of resources, many of which are Internet accessible and free. These subject guides consist of many resources but should not be considered completely comprehensive.

Released guides cover Health Statistics, Library Statistics, and Conference Proceedings. Two additional guides will be available in late fall covering Drug Information and Genetics/Genomics.

The topics for these Subject Guides are drawn from the most frequently asked questions the Reference and Web Services staff encounters in e-mails and onsite. The staff plans to update the guides, reviewing them as needed to maintain their links and content. We hope you find the Subject Guides useful, and we welcome your comments or suggestions.

From the NLM Site

  • Health Statistics (Listed here, just some of the information at the site)
    • Scope –
      • The Health Statistics and Numerical Data subject guide includes some of the major sources of health and general statistics in the United States and a brief list of international resources.
      • Selected Resources sections consist of a small number of resources chosen from the great number available. Resources include print and online publications, databases, datasets, online tools, and Websites. The majority are from U.S. Government agencies.
    • Websites and Portals
    • General selected resources
    • Specific health conditions and concerns
    • Special populations

September 30, 2013 Posted by | Finding Aids/Directories, health AND statistics, Health Statistics, Librarian Resources | , | Leave a comment

New Report: Call for President Obama Urged to ‘Remove Public Veil of Ignorance’ Around State of US Health

From the 29 August 2013 Science Daily article

In a call to action on the sorry comparative state of U.S. health, researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health are urging President Obama to “remove the public veil of ignorance” and confront a pressing question: Why is America at the bottom? The report, published in the journal Science, appeals to the President to mobilize government to create a National Commission on the Health of Americans. The researchers underscore the importance of this effort in order for the country to begin reversing the decline in the comparative status of U.S. health, which has been four decades in the making.

This is not a challenge that can be left to private groups, no matter how well meaning. Drs. Ronald Bayer and Amy Fairchild, both Professors of Sociomedical Sciences, argue, “The health status of Americans is a social problem that demands social solutions.” More is at stake than the U.S. healthcare system, which fails to provide needed care to millions of Americans. “There is a need for bold public policies that move beyond individual behavior to address the fundamental causes of disease,” Bayer and Fairchild conclude.

A January 2013 report by the U.S. National Research Council (NRC) and Institute of Medicine (IOM) ranks the United States last among peer nations in health status and compares it unfavorably to 17 peer countries at almost every stage of the life course. The report, titled “U.S. Health in International Perspective: Shorter Lives, Poorer Health,” emphasizes that socioeconomic causes are the drivers of these outcomes and details the categories in which the U.S. has the worst or next-to-worst results:

  • The U.S. has higher rates of adverse birth outcomes, heart disease, injuries from motor vehicle accidents and violence, sexually acquired diseases, and chronic lung disease.
  • Americans lose more years of life to alcohol and other drugs.
  • The U.S. has the highest rate of infant mortality among high-income countries.
  • The U.S. has the second highest incidence of AIDS and ischemic heart disease,
  • For decades, the U.S. has experienced the highest rates of obesity in children and adults as well as diabetes from age 20 and up.

Read the entire article here

September 3, 2013 Posted by | Health Statistics, Public Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Substance use by adolescents on an average day is alarming

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I am all for decriminalizing illegal drug use. However, I am very concerned about substance abuse, especially among folks whose brains are still developing (and this goes on until age 25 or so).

From the abstract of the report at Full Text Reports

On an average day, 881,684 teenagers aged 12 to 17 smoked cigarettes, according to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).   The report also says that on average day 646,707 adolescents smoked marijuana and 457,672 drank alcohol.
To provide some perspective, the number of adolescents using marijuana on an average day could almost fill the Indianapolis Speedway (seating capacity 250,000 seats) two and a half times.
“This data about adolescents sheds new light on how deeply substance use pervades the lives of many young people and their families,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde. “While other studies indicate that significant progress has been made in lowering the levels of some forms of substance use among adolescents in the past decade, this report shows that far too many young people are still at risk.”
The report, which highlights the substance abuse behavior and addiction treatment activities that occur among adolescents on an average day, draws on a variety of SAMHSA data sets.
The report also sheds light on how many adolescents aged 12 to 17 used illegal substances for the first time.  On an average day:
  • 7,639 drank alcohol for the first time;
  • 4,594 used an illicit drug for the first time;
  • 4,000 adolescents used marijuana for the first time;
  • 3,701 smoked cigarettes for the first time; and
  • 2,151 misused prescription pain relievers for the first time.

Using data from SAMHSA Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS), the report also analyzes how many adolescents aged 12 to 17 were receiving treatment for a substance abuse problem during an average day.  These numbers included:

  • Over 71,000 in outpatient treatment,
  • More than 9,302 in non-hospital residential treatment, and
  • Over 1,258 in hospital inpatient treatment.

In terms of hospital emergency department visits involving adolescents aged 12 to 17, on an average day marijuana is involved in 165 visits, alcohol is involved in 187 visits and misuse of prescription or nonprescription pain relievers is implicated in 74 visits.

SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service that people – including adolescents and their family members — can contact when facing substance abuse and mental health issues. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information in print on substance abuse and mental health issues. Call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit the online treatment locators at http://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/.

The complete report contains many other facts about the scope and nature of adolescent substance abuse, treatment and treatment admissions patterns and is available at: http://www.samhsa.gov/data/2K13/CBHSQ128/sr128-typical-day-adolescents-2013.pdf. It was drawn from analyses of SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, Treatment Episode Data Set, and National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services, and Drug Abuse Warning Network.

 

August 29, 2013 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health Statistics, Psychiatry, Psychology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] How Climate Change Is Fueling A Rise In Deadly Diseases

From the 21 July 2013 post at 2 degrees Centigrade

By Sy Mukherjee on July 17, 2013

In the summer of 2012, the mosquito-borne West Nile virus made a surprising comeback in America. In Dallas, the most affected region, 400 people contracted the disease and 19 of them died. That came as a shock to public health officials, since West Nile virus was thought to be in such precipitous decline that it was practically eradicated.

Now, a little detective work has led epidemiologists to the reason for its resurgence: warmer winters and wetter springs. In other words, the consequences of global climate change are fueling West Nile. And it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Health officials expect the number of people contracting other infectious diseases to rise right alongside global temperatures.

The diseases that are propagated by climate change tend to come in fungal, algal, tick-borne, and mosquito-borne forms. For instance, dengue fever — which causes a high fever, painful head and body aches, and rashes — will likely continue infecting Americans in hot and humid climates, as well as regions that are close to warming oceans:

Read the entire article here

August 28, 2013 Posted by | Health Statistics, Public Health | , , | Leave a comment

[Re-post] Opting-Out Of Vaccines; Dipping Below Herd Immunity

From the post at Boston Public Radio

With more and more families opting out of vaccinating their kids, one of the most sacred of public health goals, the concept of herd immunity, is being threatened.

A recent piece in Scientific American featured tantalizing graphics — on view above — illustrating this scary trend.  According to this analysis, the vaccination rates in some states — Oregon, West Virginia and Colorado, for instance, are shockingly low. So low, in fact, that they’ve dropped below the “herd immunity” levels (or what is thought to be the safe threshold) for MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) and DTP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis).

So what’s the deal with herd immunity?  According to the CDC, a population has reached herd immunity when a sufficient proportion is immune to a particular infectious disease.  Immune population members get that protection either by being vaccinated or by having a prior infection.

 Read the entire post here

 

August 28, 2013 Posted by | Health Statistics, Public Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Biggest Urban Legend in Health Economics–and How It Drives Up Our Spending

Chronic Disease

Chronic Disease (Photo credit: tamahaji)

 

From the 24 August 2013 post at The Health Care Blog

 

The wellness emphasis in the Affordable Care Act is built around the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) 2009 call to action about chronic disease:  The Power to Prevent, the Call to Control.   On the summary page we learn some shocking statistics:

  • “Chronic diseases cause 7 in 10 deaths each year in the United States.”

  • “About 133 million Americans—nearly 1 in 2 adults—live with at least one chronic illness.”

  • “More than 75% of health care costs are due to chronic conditions.”

Shocking, that is, in how misleading or even false they are.  Take the statement that “chronic diseases cause 7 in 10 deaths,” for example.  We have to die of something.   Would it be better to die of accidents?  Suicides and homicides?  Mercury poisoning?   Infectious diseases?    As compared to the alternatives, it is much easier to make the argument that the first statistic is a good thing rather than a bad thing.

The second statistic is a head-scratcher.  Only 223 million Americans were old enough to drink in 2009, meaning that 60% of adults, not “nearly 1 in 2 adults,” live with at least one chronic illness — if their language is to be taken literally.   Our suspicion is that their “133-million Americans” figure includes children, and the CDC meant to say “133-millon Americans, including nearly 1 in 2 adults, live with at least one chronic illness.”   Sloppy wording is not uncommon at the CDC, as elsewhere they say almost 1 in 5 youth has a BMI  > the 95th percentile, which of course is mathematically impossible.

More importantly, the second statistic begs the question, how are they defining “chronic disease” so broadly that half of us have at least one?    Are they counting back pain?   Tooth decay?  Dandruff?   Ring around the collar?

 

Read the entire article here

 

 

 

August 28, 2013 Posted by | health AND statistics, Health Statistics | , , , , | Leave a comment

[Repost] Putting Chronic Disease on the Map: Building GIS Capacity in State and Local Health Departments

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From http://www.cdc.gov/DHDSP/maps/GISX/

 

It is good to see these efforts to survey and prevent chronic diseases.  As stated at the US Administration on Aging Web site…Older Americans are disproportionately affected by chronic diseases and conditions, such as arthritis, diabetes and heart disease, as well as by disabilities that result from injuries such as falls. More than one-third of adults 65 or older fall each year.

From the 2 August 2013 summary at Full Text Reports

Techniques based on geographic information systems (GIS) have been widely adopted and applied in the fields of infectious disease and environmental epidemiology; their use in chronic disease programs is relatively new. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention is collaborating with the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors and the University of Michigan to provide health departments with capacity to integrate GIS into daily operations, which support priorities for surveillance and prevention of chronic diseases. So far, 19 state and 7 local health departments participated in this project. On the basis of these participants’ experiences, we describe our training strategy and identify high-impact GIS skills that can be mastered and applied over a short time in support of chronic disease surveillance. We also describe the web-based resources in the Chronic Disease GIS Exchange that were produced on the basis of this training and are available to anyone interested in GIS and chronic disease (www.cdc.gov/DHDSP/maps/GISX). GIS offers diverse sets of tools that promise increased productivity for chronic disease staff of state and local health departments.

August 4, 2013 Posted by | Health Statistics, Public Health | , , | Leave a comment

Just under a third of us will reach 65 “healthy”

Janice Flahiff:

 

Write text here…

 

Originally posted on 2020health's Blog:

Guest blog by Matt Hawkins, Policy and Public Affairs Assistant at the International Longevity Centre-UK

Discussion at an International Longevity Centre-UK, (ILC-UK) event held on Monday, Longevity, health and public policy, revealed that only just short of a third of the UK population will reach retirement “healthy”. Gains in life expectancy have outstripped gains in healthy life expectancy, meaning that potentially over two thirds of people in the UK could find that they are living their retirement years in ill-health.

As a think-tank dedicated to addressing the impacts of our ageing society across generations and throughout the life-course, these findings are of particular concern to ILC-UK. If people are reaching older age in ill-health then this is going to significantly decrease their capacity to remain in work and significantly increase their care needs.

Monday’s event sought to identify the obstacles we face in promoting a healthier older population and…

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July 26, 2013 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health Statistics | , , , , | Leave a comment

Life Expectancy Shortest In Southern ‘Poverty Belt’ (INFOGRAPHIC)

From the 19 July post at HuffPost

Living in a high-poverty area often means a lifetime of struggle with underperforming public schools, limited job opportunities, higher crime rates, and poor nutrition, health care and housing — all of which can add up to a shorter, sicker retirement.

Americans who live in the South can expect to live fewer healthy years past 65 than those who live in other parts of the country, according to a new report from the CDC. Health disparities among seniors in their final years align closely with profound geographical differences in poverty. The region where more than 30 percent of people live in high-poverty areas — dubbed the “poverty belt” by The Atlantic’s Richard Florida, falls right over the states with the lowest healthy life expectancies. As inequality in the U.S. climbs steadily, this public health crisis may only expand.

From the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention site

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July 22, 2013 Posted by | Health Statistics | , , , | Leave a comment

2013 World Drug Report notes stability in use of traditional drugs and points to alarming rise in new psychoactive substances

Janice Flahiff:

 

Emerging drug problems

 

Marketed as ‘legal highs’ and ‘designer drugs’, NPS  [New PsychoActive Substances]

 

An arrangement of psychoactive drugs

An arrangement of psychoactive drugs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

are proliferating at an unprecedented rate and posing unforeseen public health challenges. Mr. Fedotov urged concerted action to prevent the manufacture, trafficking and abuse of these substances.

 

The number of NPS reported by Member States to UNODC rose from 166 at the end of 2009 to 251 by mid-2012, an increase of more than 50 per cent. For the first time, the number of NPS exceeded the total number of substances under international control (234). Since new harmful substances have been emerging with unfailing regularity on the drug scene, the international drug control system is now challenged by the speed and creativity of the NPS phenomenon.

 

This is an alarming drug problem – but the drugs are legal. Sold openly, including via the internet, NPS, which have not been tested for safety, can be far more dangerous than traditional drugs. Street names, such as “spice”, “meow-meow” and “bath salts” mislead young people into believing that they are indulging in low-risk fun. Given the almost infinite scope to alter the chemical structure of NPS, new formulations are outpacing efforts to impose international control. While law enforcement lags behind, criminals have been quick to tap into this lucrative market. The adverse effects and addictive potential of most of these uncontrolled substances are at best poorly understood.

 

In response to the proliferation of NPS, UNODC has launched an early warning system which will allow the global community to monitor the emergence and take appropriate actions.”

 

 

Originally posted on Full Text Reports...:

2013 World Drug Report notes stability in use of traditional drugs and points to alarming rise in new psychoactive substances
Source: United Nations

At a special high-level event of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) today launched in Vienna the 2013 World Drug Report. The special high-level event marks the first step on the road to the 2014 high-level review by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs of the Political Declaration and Plan of Action which will be followed, in 2016, by the UN General Assembly Special Session on the issue.

While drug challenges are emerging from new psychoactive substances (NPS), the 2013 World Drug Report (WDR) is pointing to stability in the use of traditional drugs. The WDR will be a key measuring stick in the lead up to the 2016 Review.

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July 17, 2013 Posted by | Health Statistics, Medical and Health Research News | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The U.S. Health Disadvantage – Part 2: Possible Causes and Solutions

Originally posted on :

by Kirsten Hartil 

“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care.”

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Reference: Mokdad AH, Marks JS, Stroup DF, Gerberding JL (March 2004). “Actual causes of death in the United States, 2000″. JAMA 291 (10): 1238–45. DOI:10.1001/jama.291.10.1238. PMID 15010446.

At least according to Article 25 of The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, so why does the United States, one of the wealthiest countries in the world, have some of the poorest health outcomes compared to other high income countries?

My previous blog, adapted from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) report U.S. Health in International Perspective: Shorter Lives, Poorer Health, described how the U.S. compares in causes of mortality and years of life lost with other high income and OECD countries. Here, as outlined in the report, I…

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July 14, 2013 Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety, Health Statistics, Public Health, statistics | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The WomanStats Project and Database

The WomanStats Project and Database

From the Web site

The WomanStats Project is the most comprehensive compilation of information on the status of women in the world. The Project facilitates understanding the linkage between the situation of women and the security of nation-states. We comb the extant literature and conduct expert interviews to find qualitative and quantitative information on over 310 indicators of women’s status in 174 countries. Our Databaseexpands daily, and access to it is free of charge.

The Project began in 2001, and today includes six principal investigators at five universities, as well as a team of up to twenty graduate and undergraduate data extractors. Please learn more by clicking First Time Users and watching our Video Tutorials. Or visit our Blog, where we discuss what we are finding, view our Maps, or read our Researchreports.

First Time Users

Welcome to the WomanStats Database, the world’s most comprehensive compilation of information on the status of women.

The best way to acquaint yourself with the database and how to use it is to watch our Video Tutorials for beginners. The first video tutorial explains how to create a free account. The second teaches how to use the codebook and retrieve data from the View screen. The third covers reports, downloads, and maps. The fourth introduces you to other aspects of our web presence, such as our blog and social media.

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March 22, 2013 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, environmental health, health AND statistics, Health Statistics, Public Health | , | Leave a comment

New Database Reveals Thousands of Hospital Violation Reports New Database Reveals Thousands of Hospital Violation Reports

Hospital

Hospital (Photo credit: Ralf Heß)

 

From the March 20, 2013 State Line article

 

Hospitals make mistakes, sometimes deadly mistakes.  A patient may get the wrong medication or even undergo surgery intended for another person.  When errors like these are reported, state and federal officials inspect the hospital in question and file a detailed report.

Now, for the first time, this vital information on the quality and safety of the nation’s hospitals has been made available to the public online.

A new website, www.hospitalinspections.org, includes detailed reports of hospital violations dating back to January 2011, searchable by city, state, name of the hospital and key word.  Previously, these reports were filed with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), and released only through a Freedom of Information Act request, an arduous, time-consuming process.  Even then, the reports were provided in paper format only, making them cumbersome to analyze.

Release of this critical electronic information by CMS is the result of years of advocacy by the Association of Health Care Journalists, with funding from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.  The new database makes full inspection reports for acute care hospitals and rural critical access hospitals instantly available to journalists and consumers interested in the quality of their local hospitals.

The database also reveals national trends in hospital errors. For example, key word searches yield the incidence of certain violations across all hospitals.  A search on the word “abuse,” for example, yields 862 violations at 204 hospitals since 2011. …

 

 

March 20, 2013 Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety, Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, health AND statistics, Health Statistics, Librarian Resources | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CDC Releases Data on Interpersonal and Sexual Violence by Sexual Orientation (A First in this Area)

nisvs_coverFrom the 25 January 2013 US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) press release

The first set of national prevalence data on intimate partner violence (IPV), sexual violence (SV), and stalking victimization by sexual orientation was released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The study found that lesbians and gay men reported IPV and SV over their lifetimes at levels equal to or higher than those of heterosexuals; with sexual orientation based on respondents’ identification at the time of the survey.

The survey also found that bisexual women (61.1 percent) report a higher prevalence of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner compared to both lesbian (43.8 percent) and heterosexual women (35 percent). Of the bisexual women who experienced IPV, approximately 90 percent reported having only male perpetrators, while two -thirds of lesbians reported having only female perpetrators of IPV.

The data presented in this report do not indicate whether violence occurs more often in same-sex or opposite sex couples. Rather, the data show the prevalence of lifetime victimization of intimate partner violence, sexual violence and stalking of respondents who self-identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual at the time of the survey and describe violence experienced with both same-sex and opposite-sex partners. …

Other key findings include:

  • The majority of women who reported experiencing sexual violence, regardless of their sexual orientation, reported that they were victimized by male perpetrators.
  • Nearly half of female bisexual victims (48.2 percent) and more than one-quarter of female heterosexual victims (28.3 percent) experienced their first rape between the ages of 11 and 17 years.

CDC will work to create resources to bring attention to these issues within lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities.

For more information about NISVS, including study details, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/nisvs/index.html.

To watch webinars that discuss the NISVS 2010 Summary findings, please visit PreventConnectExternal Web Site Icon, a national online project dedicated to the primary prevention of sexual assault and domestic violence.

 

 

February 6, 2013 Posted by | Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public), Health Statistics, Librarian Resources, Psychology | , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog With Abortion Infographs] Planned Parenthood Drops the Pro-Choice/Pro-Life Labels

I’ve added this to the blog because of the infographs which highlight “the racial/ethnic disparities in accessing abortion care, income disparities, how women pay for abortions..”
Always thought that abortion decisions were largely based on economic factors. These infographics, which seem to be factual, confirm this. If the print is tiny (and I do apologize) please go to the source..Planned Parenthood Drops the Pro-Choice/Pro-Life Labels.

Comments are welcome that address the statistics and facts presented in these infographs.
Other civil and respectful comments are welcome as well.

Reblog

And here is their video explaining why.

Thoughts?

I generally agree that using labels in an incredible complex and nuanced decision like terminating a pregnancy is for the most part unhelpful. However, I never much liked “pro-life” for those opposed to abortion rights anyway, and preferred to use the term “anti-choice,” for the reasons that many have articulated – that a woman’s life must be considered above that of a fetus, that choosing to terminate a pregnancy based on one’s personal circumstances is in fact being pro-life and thinking of a potential child’s future, that a fetus is not yet an actual life, that a woman has a right to decide what goes on in her own body. As with all things, the weight and emotions of descriptors sometimes get too heavy, and I do hope that this will encourage more in-depth conversation around abortion rights.

Additionally, Guttmacher*** recently release a series of infogrpahics covering the racial/ethnic disparities in accessing abortion care, income disparities, how women pay for abortions, and a cross-sectional look at abortion in the United States. Check them out:

U.S. Women who Have Abortions

How do Women Pay for Abortions?

How do Women Pay for Abortions?

Racial and Ethnic Disparities

Racial and Ethnic Disparities

Abortion Concentrated Among the Poor

Abortion Concentrated Among the Poor

Barriers to Abortion Access

Barriers to Abortion Access

Four decades after its creation, the Guttmacher Institute continues to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights through an interrelated program of research, policy analysis and public education designed to generate new ideas, encourage enlightened public debate and promote sound policy and program development. The Institute’s overarching goal is to ensure the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health for all people worldwide.

The Institute produces a wide range of resources on topics pertaining to sexual and reproductive health, including Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health,International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health and the Guttmacher Policy Review. In 2009, Guttmacher was designated an official Collaborating Center for Reproductive Health by the World Health Organization and its regional office, the Pan American Health Organization.

 

Related Resource

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Abortion Research Package -includes results from a new public opinion survey, a slideshow on how opinion differs among various demographic groups, a discussion of the legal issues and a summary of religious groups’ positions.

January 19, 2013 Posted by | Health Statistics | , , | Leave a comment

Early Estimates of Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness — United States, January 2013

Vaccination; 041028-N-9864S-021 Yokosuka, Japa...

Vaccination; 041028-N-9864S-021 Yokosuka, Japan (Oct. 28, 2004) – Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Tiffany Long of San Diego, Calif., administers the influenza vaccination to a crew member aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63). Currently in port, Kitty Hawk demonstrates power projection and sea control as the U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier, operating from Yokosuka, Japan. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate Airman Joseph R Schmitt (RELEASED) (Photo credit: Wikipedi

On January 11, 2013, this report was posted as an MMWR Early Release on the MMWR website (http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr)

In the United States, annual vaccination against seasonal influenza is recommended for all persons aged ≥6 months (1). Each season since 2004–05, CDC has estimated the effectiveness of seasonal influenza vaccine to prevent influenza-associated, medically attended acute respiratory infection (ARI).

This season, early data from 1,155 children and adults with ARI enrolled during December 3, 2012–January 2, 2013 were used to estimate the overall effectiveness of seasonal influenza vaccine for preventing laboratory-confirmed influenza virus infection associated with medically attended ARI.

After adjustment for study site, but not for other factors, the estimated vaccine effectiveness (VE) was 62% (95% confidence intervals [CIs] = 51%–71%). This interim estimate indicates moderate effectiveness, and is similar to a summary VE estimate from a meta-analysis of randomized controlled clinical trial data (2); final estimates likely will differ slightly.

As of January 11, 2013, 24 states and New York City were reporting high levels of influenza-like illness, 16 states were reporting moderate levels, five states were reporting low levels, and one state was reporting minimal levels (3). CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices routinely recommend that annual influenza vaccination efforts continue as long as influenza viruses are circulating (1). Persons aged ≥6 months who have not yet been vaccinated this season should be vaccinated.

However, these early VE estimates underscore that some vaccinated persons will become infected with influenza; therefore, antiviral medications should be used as recommended for treatment in patients, regardless of vaccination status. In addition, these results highlight the importance of continued efforts to develop more effective vaccines……

January 19, 2013 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health Statistics | , | Leave a comment

[World Bank] Health, Nutrition and Population Data and Statistics

From the data section of The World Bank

HealthStats is the World Bank’s comprehensive database of Health, Nutrition and Population (HNP) statistics.
It includes over 250 indicators on topics such as health financing, HIV/AIDS, immunization, malaria and tuberculosis, health workforce and health facilities use, nutrition, reproductive health, population and population projections, cause of death, non-communicable diseases, water and sanitation, with background information on poverty, labor force, economy and education.

Users can access HNP data by country, topic, or indicator, and view the resulting data (and wealth quintiles) in tables, charts or maps that can be easily shared through email, Facebook and Twitter.

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The above World Bank  web page also includes a  population growth rate visualization.
A country’s color changes as the growth rate varies annually from 1961 to 2011.
Options for commentary and a chart URL (no custom colors)

Check out the Data Visualizer for bigger map. The visualizer also includes  options to locate individual countries (with rates), and “freeze frames” by year.

TradeMonitor_IMG001

December 1, 2012 Posted by | Health Statistics, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

CDC Releases First FluView Report for 2012-2013 Influenza Season (Week ending October 13)

From the announcement

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today issued the first “FluView” influenza activity report for the U.S. 2012-2013 flu season. The 2012-2013 reporting season began on September 30. The first FluView report shows that influenza activity is low nationwide.This season, FluView has new interactive visualization tools.

Where

To access the FluView report please go to (www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly).

Additional Information

CDC routinely tracks influenza activity in the United States with a system that determines when and where influenza activity is occurring, what influenza viruses are circulating, and detects changes in influenza viruses.
The system also measures the burden of influenza disease in the United States, including tracking flu-related illness, hospitalizations and deaths. Data for the week ending October 6 indicate that influenza activity is low nationally at this time.

This year, FluView includes enhanced web-based interactive applications which can provide dynamic visuals of the influenza data collected and analyzed by CDC. These FluView Interactive applications, allow people to create customized, visual interpretations of influenza data, as well as comparisons across flu seasons, regions, age groups, and a variety of other demographics.

CDC can’t predict how severe the upcoming flu season will be. However, the agency recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get vaccinated against influenza each year.  More than 112 million doses of seasonal influenza vaccine already have been distributed by vaccine manufacturers in the United States this season and more is expected.

For more information about influenza,  please go to www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/fluviewinteractive.htm

Here’s a few excerpts from the first weekly report (it is rather long and includes quite a few graphs and graphics)

U.S. Virologic Surveillance:

WHO and NREVSS collaborating laboratories located in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. report to CDC the number of respiratory specimens tested for influenza and the number positive by influenza type and subtype. Region specific data can be found at http://gis.cdc.gov/grasp/fluview/fluportaldashboard.html.

Week 41
No. of specimens tested 3,285
No. of positive specimens (%) 129 (3.9%)
Positive specimens by type/subtype
  Influenza A 61 (47%)
             2009 H1N1 4 (6.6%)
             Subtyping not performed 31 (50.8%)
             H3 26 (42.6%)
  Influenza B 68 (53%)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Percentage of Visits for Influenza-like Illness Reported by Sentinel Providers, National Summary, 2012-13 and Previous 2 Seasons

Weekly Report: Image Download

Weekly Flu Activity Map: Week 41

 

October 20, 2012 Posted by | Health Statistics | , | Leave a comment

Older Americans 2012: Key Indicators of Well-Being

 

 

Federal report details health, economic status of older Americans

Today’s older Americans enjoy longer lives and better physical function than did previous generations, although, for some, an increased burden in housing costs and rising obesity may compromise these gains, according to a comprehensive federal look at aging. The report, Older Americans 2012: Key Indicators of Well-Being, tracks trends at regular intervals to see how older people are faring as the U.S. population grows older.

In 2010, 40 million people age 65 and over accounted for 13 percent of the total population in the United States. In 2030, the number and proportion of older Americans is expected to grow significantly—to 72 million, representing nearly 20 percent of the population said the report, by the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics.

Older Americans 2012, the sixth report prepared by the Forum since 2000, provides an updated and accessible compendium of indicators, drawn from official statistics about the well-being of Americans primarily age 65 and older. The 176-page report provides a broad description of areas of well-being that are improving for older Americans and those that are not. Thirty-seven key indicators are categorized into five broad areas—population, economics, health status, health risks and behaviors, and health care. This year’s report also includes a special feature on the end of life.

Highlights of Older Americans 2012 include:
Increased labor force participation by older women – Participation of older women in the labor force has increased significantly over the past 40 years. In 1963, 29 percent of women aged 62-64 worked outside the home; in 2011, that had increased to 45 percent.

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In 1963, 17 percent of women aged 65-69 were in the labor force; in 2011, that had increased to 27 percent. For women 70 and older, 6 percent worked in 1963, increasing to 8 percent in 2011. Some older Americans work out of economic necessity. Others may be attracted by the social contact, intellectual challenges or sense of value that work often provides.

Declines in poverty, increases in income since 1974 – Older Americans are in better economic shape now than they were in 1974. Between 1974 and 2010, the proportion of older people with income below the poverty thresholds (less than $10,458 in 2010 for a person 65 and older) fell from 15 percent to 9 percent. The percentage with low income (between $10,458 and $20,916 in 2010 for people 65 and older) dropped from 35 percent to 26 percent. There were also notable gains in income over the period, as the proportion of people 65 and older with high income ($41,832 and above in 2010) rose from 18 percent to 31 percent.

Increased housing problems –The most significant issue by far is housing cost burden, which has been steadily increasing over time. In 1985, about 30 percent of households with householders or spouses age 65 and over spent more than 30 percent of their income on housing and utilities. By 2009, the proportion of older people with high housing cost burden reached 40 percent. For some multigenerational households, crowded housing is also fairly prevalent.

Rising rates of obesity – Obesity, a major cause of preventable disease and premature death, is increasing among older people. In 2009-2010, 38 percent of people age 65 and over were obese, compared with 22 percent in 1988-1994. In 2009-2010, 44 percent of people age 65-74 were obese, as were 29 percent of those age 75 and older.

More use of hospice –The percentage of older people who received hospice care in the last 30 days of life increased from 19 percent in 1999 to 43 percent in 2009. The percentage of older Americans who died in hospitals dropped from 49 percent in 1999 to 32 percent in 2009. The percentage who died at home increased from 15 percent in 1999 to 24 percent in 2009. In 2009, there were notable differences in the use of hospice services at the end of life among people of different race and ethnicity groups.

From the Web site

Older Americans 2012:
Key Indicators of Well-Being

This report provides the latest data on the 37 key indicators selected by the Forum to portray aspects of the lives of older Americans and their families. It is divided into five subject areas: population, economics, health status, health risks and behaviors, and health care.

Press Note (PDF)

 

Federal report details health, economic status of older Americans

Today’s older Americans enjoy longer lives and better physical function than did previous generations, although, for some, an increased burden in housing costs and rising obesity may compromise these gains, according to a comprehensive federal look at aging. The report, Older Americans 2012: Key Indicators of Well-Being, tracks trends at regular intervals to see how older people are faring as the U.S. population grows older.

In 2010, 40 million people age 65 and over accounted for 13 percent of the total population in the United States. In 2030, the number and proportion of older Americans is expected to grow significantly—to 72 million, representing nearly 20 percent of the population said the report, by the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics.

Older Americans 2012, the sixth report prepared by the Forum since 2000, provides an updated and accessible compendium of indicators, drawn from official statistics about the well-being of Americans primarily age 65 and older. The 176-page report provides a broad description of areas of well-being that are improving for older Americans and those that are not. Thirty-seven key indicators are categorized into five broad areas—population, economics, health status, health risks and behaviors, and health care. This year’s report also includes a special feature on the end of life.

Highlights of Older Americans 2012 include:
Increased labor force participation by older women – Participation of older women in the labor force has increased significantly over the past 40 years. In 1963, 29 percent of women aged 62-64 worked outside the home; in 2011, that had increased to 45 percent.

page1image17648
page1image18200
page1image18472
page1image18744

In 1963, 17 percent of women aged 65-69 were in the labor force; in 2011, that had increased to 27 percent. For women 70 and older, 6 percent worked in 1963, increasing to 8 percent in 2011. Some older Americans work out of economic necessity. Others may be attracted by the social contact, intellectual challenges or sense of value that work often provides.

Declines in poverty, increases in income since 1974 – Older Americans are in better economic shape now than they were in 1974. Between 1974 and 2010, the proportion of older people with income below the poverty thresholds (less than $10,458 in 2010 for a person 65 and older) fell from 15 percent to 9 percent. The percentage with low income (between $10,458 and $20,916 in 2010 for people 65 and older) dropped from 35 percent to 26 percent. There were also notable gains in income over the period, as the proportion of people 65 and older with high income ($41,832 and above in 2010) rose from 18 percent to 31 percent.

Increased housing problems –The most significant issue by far is housing cost burden, which has been steadily increasing over time. In 1985, about 30 percent of households with householders or spouses age 65 and over spent more than 30 percent of their income on housing and utilities. By 2009, the proportion of older people with high housing cost burden reached 40 percent. For some multigenerational households, crowded housing is also fairly prevalent.

Rising rates of obesity – Obesity, a major cause of preventable disease and premature death, is increasing among older people. In 2009-2010, 38 percent of people age 65 and over were obese, compared with 22 percent in 1988-1994. In 2009-2010, 44 percent of people age 65-74 were obese, as were 29 percent of those age 75 and older.

More use of hospice –The percentage of older people who received hospice care in the last 30 days of life increased from 19 percent in 1999 to 43 percent in 2009. The percentage of older Americans who died in hospitals dropped from 49 percent in 1999 to 32 percent in 2009. The percentage who died at home increased from 15 percent in 1999 to 24 percent in 2009. In 2009, there were notable differences in the use of hospice services at the end of life among people of different race and ethnicity groups.

 

August 22, 2012 Posted by | Health Statistics, Public Health | , , | Leave a comment

U.S. Launches Interactive HIV/AIDS Database on Census.gov

 

AIDS 2012 logo

 

From the July 23 2012 US Census press release

The U.S. Census Bureau today launched aninteractive global resource on the prevalence of HIV infection and AIDS cases and deaths. The database was developed in 1987 and now holds 149,000 statistics, an increase of approximately 10,800 new estimates in the last year, making it the most complete of its kind in the world. The launch comes as thousands of people worldwide meet in Washington, D.C., for the International AIDS Conference this week.

The resource is maintained by the Census Bureau with funding from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby, head of PEPFAR, said on the launch, “This release of the HIV/AIDS database will expand global access to data that are critical to understanding the epidemic. This information is invaluable for the evidence-based response PEPFAR is championing.”

Census Bureau Director Robert Groves said “This database provides the people who need it with quality statistics — supporting the life-saving efforts of our partners at PEPFAR and USAID and the doctors, nurses and public health officials working to reach the end of AIDS.”

The tool is a library of statistics from more than 12,000 articles in international scientific and medical journals, individual countries’ annual HIV/AIDS surveillance reports, and papers and posters presented at international conferences.

The menu-driven access tool permits users to search for statistical information in countries and territories across the world, as well as by subpopulation, geographic subarea (such as urban and rural), age, sex and year (back to 1960).

Statistics for the United States are available separately from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

July 24, 2012 Posted by | Health Statistics | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Annual Report on U.S. Kids’ Health a Mixed Bag http://www.childstats.gov/americaschildren/press_release.asp Infant mortality, preterm births and teen births have dropped across the United States as have violent crime and victimization among children. But more children are living in poverty and the fight against childhood obesity is not making much headway according to a new Federal report.

America's Children

 

From the ChildStats.gov press release

Federal report shows drops in infant mortality, preterm birth rates

Annual statistics compilation notes increases in poverty, drop in secure parental employment

The infant mortality rate, the preterm birth rate, and the adolescent birth rate all continued to decline, average mathematics scores increased for 4th and 8th grade students, the violent crime victimization rate among youth fell, as did the percentage of young children living in a home where someone smoked, according to the federal government’s annual statistical report on the well-being of the nation’s children and youth.

However, the percentage of children living in poverty increased, and the percentage of children with at least one parent employed full time, year-round decreased, the report said.

These and other findings are described in America’s Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2012.

[Report may be found here,  table of contents and PDF option in left column]

The report was compiled by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, a working group of 22 federal agencies that produce and use data on issues related to children and families. The report uses the most recently available and reliable official federal statistics to describe the family and social environment, economic circumstances, health care, physical environment and safety, behavior, education, and health of America’s children and youth…

..

New to this year’s report is a figure showing the percentage of children in race groups constituting less than 10 percent of the population (American Indian and Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, or two or more races). This detailed figure is available only online athttp://childstats.gov. It supplements figure 1 in this year’s brief, which shows the percentage of children by race and Hispanic origin.

Also new is a revised figure showing the percentages of high school graduates who completed selected mathematics and science coursework (Figure 13).

Among the findings in this year’s report:

  • A drop in births to adolescents, from 20 per 1,000 girls ages 15 to 17 (2009) to 17 per 1,000 (2010, preliminary data)
  • A drop in the proportion of infants born before 37 weeks’ gestation (preterm), from 12.2 percent (2009) to 12.0 percent (2010, preliminary data)
  • A drop in deaths before the first birthday, from 6.4 per 1,000 births (2009) to 6.1 per 1,000 births (2010, preliminary data)
  • A drop in the percentage of children from birth to 17 years of age living with at least one parent employed year round full time, from 72 percent (2009) to 71 percent (2010)
  • A rise in the proportion of children from birth to 17 years of age living in poverty, from 21 percent (2009) to 22 percent (2010)
  • A drop in the percentage of children from birth to 17 years of age living in households classified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as food insecure, from 23 percent (2009) to 22 percent (2010)
  • An increase in vaccination coverage with one dose or more of the meningococcal conjugate vaccine for adolescents ages 13–17, from 12 percent (2006) to 63 percent (2010)
  • A drop in the proportion of youth ages 12–17 who were victims of serious violent crimes, from 11 per 1,000 youth ages 12–17 (2009) to 7 per 1,000 (2010)
  • A drop in the percentage of children, birth to 6 years of age, living in a home where someone smoked regularly, from 8.4 percent (2005) to 6.1 percent (2010)
  • An increase of one point in the average mathematics scores for both 4th and 8th graders from 2009 to 2011
  • A drop in the percentage of youth ages 16–19 neither enrolled in high school or college nor working, from 9 percent (2010) to 8 percent (2011)
  • A rise in the percentage of children from birth to 17 years of age living in counties in which levels of one or more air pollutants were above allowable levels, from 59 percent (2009) to 67 percent (2010)
  • 20 Percent of U.S. Women Were Uninsured in 2010, Up From 15 Percent in 2000
    http://www.commonwealthfund.org/News/News-Releases/2012/Jul/Oceans-Apart.aspx
    Twenty percent of U.S. women (18.7 million) ages 19-64 were uninsured in 2010, up from 15 percent (12.8 million) in 2000, according to a new Commonwealth Fund report on women’s health care. The report estimates that once fully implemented, the Affordable Care Act will cover nearly all women, reducing the uninsured rate among women from 20 percent to 8 percent.

Keep in mind that uninsured pregnant women have less access to healthcare, this affects the health of children
in the womb, both short term and long term.

July 22, 2012 Posted by | Health Statistics | , , , | Leave a comment

Economic vitality and population health go hand in hand.

From the web page

Using the County Health Rankings and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs county economic rankings, Georgia’s “Partner Up! For Public Health” advocacy campaign has developed a research project and presentation that visually illustrates how Georgia’s economic vitality and population health go hand in hand.

The still-evolving, data-driven narrative has already been presented, along with key observations and policy suggestions from the report, to more than 30 audiences throughout Georgia, including the Georgia Public Health Association, Georgia Rural Health Association, the Georgia Association of Regional Commissions, and a meeting of key state legislative leaders.

July 18, 2012 Posted by | Health Statistics, Public Health | , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] Maternal Health and the Status of Women

[Reblog]

Maternal Health and the Status of Women

Both globally and domestically, maternal health and the standing of women are inextricably linked. If women do not have the means and access to give birth safely, with trained and educated midwives, physicians and nurses, with appropriate prenatal education and care, it is often indicative of the standing of women in their communities and countries overall. Women’s inequality is also linked to the soaring population growth in developing countries, which will pose a range of new challenges for the next few generations.

Some may point to the United States as an anomaly, citing women’s increasing economic and financial independence, education, and leadership roles in America, while in terms of maternal health rankings, we remain pathetically far down the line for our resources (49 other countries are safer places to give birth than the U.S. – despite us spending more money on healthcare than anywhere else). Of course, the recent and incessant attacks on allowing women to access credible, accurate, up-to-date and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health education and services makes this statistic not entirely…surprising, shall we say.

So, I found the incredibly detailed and visually impressive infographic by the National Post, pulled from spectacular data and research done by Save the Children to be particularly fascinating. What they did was combine information on the health, economic, and education status of women to create overall rankings of the best and worst countries for women, splitting the countries into categories of more developed, less developed, and least developed, and the countries were ranked in relation to the other countries in their category (the divisions were based on the 2008 United Nations Population Division’s World Population Prospects, which most recently no longer classified based on development standing). While these divisions and the rankings can certainly be contentious and may incite some disagreement (nothing unusual there, these kind of rankings usually are), I thought the results were interesting. Some highlights – Norway is first, Somalia is last. The United States was 19th, and Canada was 17th (Estonia fell in between us and the Great White North) in the most developed. Israel is first in the less developed category, and Bhutan is first in the least developed category. The full report with data from Save the Children is also available, if you want to learn more about the information combined to make this image. Take a look:

[larger image at http://larkincallaghan.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/best-and-worst-places-to-be-a-woman.jpg]

A Woman’s Place – Courtesy of the National Post

One thing that I thought was particularly great was that the researchers combined women’s health and children’s heath data to create rankings specific to being a mother, when that category is sometimes only assessed based on access to reproductive care.The specific rankings of maternal health highlights largely mimics the overall standing of women, as seen here – Norway is number one, again, and Niger falls into last place:

Mother’s Index, Courtesy of Save the Children

I think these images and graphs are particularly moving given one of the top health stories coming out of the New York Times today, which showed that a recent Johns Hopkins study indicated meeting the contraception needs of women in developing countries could reduce maternal mortality (and thereby increase the standing of women in many of the nations doing poorly in the above ranking) globally by a third. When looking at the countries in the infographic that have low rates of using modern contraception and the correlation between that and their ranking in terms of status of women, it’s not surprising what the JH researchers found. Many of the countries farther down in the rankings have rates below 50%, and for those countries filling the bottom 25 slots, none of them even reach a rate that is a third of the population in terms of contraceptive use – which of course in most cases has to do with availability, not choice. Wonderfully, the Gates Foundation yesterday announced that they would be donating $1 billion to increase the access to contraceptives in developing countries.

Also of note, and in relation to maternal and newborn health, is a new study recently published by Mailman researchers that showed PEPFAR funded programs in sub-Saharan Africa increased access to healthcare facilities for women (particularly important for this region, as 50% of maternal deaths occur there), thereby increasing the number of births occurring in these facilities – reducing the avoidable (and sometimes inevitable) complications from labor and delivery, decreasing the chance of infection and increasing treatment if contracted. This has clear implications for children as well (and why I think this study relates to the National Post infographic and the NY Times article), since newborns are also able to be assessed by trained healthcare workers and potentially life-threatening conditions averted – including HIV, if the newborns have HIV+ mothers and need early anti-retroviral treatment and a relationship with a healthcare worker and system. And it goes without saying that if a new mother is struggling with post-delivery healthcare issues, including abscesses and fistulas, or was dealing with a high-risk pre-labor condition like preeclampsia, the child will have an increasingly difficult early life, perhaps even a motherless one.

July 16, 2012 Posted by | Health Statistics, Public Health | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Contraceptive Use Averts 272,000 Maternal Deaths Worldwide

Map of countries by maternal mortality

Map of countries by maternal mortality [2011](Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the 10 July 2012 article at Science News Daily

Contraceptive use likely prevents more than 272,000 maternal deaths from childbirth each year, according to a new study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Researchers further estimate that satisfying the global unmet need for contraception could reduce maternal deaths an additional 30 percent. Their findings were published July 10 by The Lancet as part of a series of articles on family planning.

“Promotion of contraceptive use is an effective primary prevention strategy for reducing maternal mortality in developing countries. Our findings reinforce the need to accelerate access to contraception in countries with a low prevalence of contraceptive use where gains in maternal mortality prevention could be greatest,” said the study’s lead author, Saifuddin Ahmed, MBBS, PhD, associate professor in the Bloomberg School’s departments of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, and Biostatistics. “Vaccination prevents child mortality; contraception prevents maternal mortality.”

Effective contraception is estimated to avert nearly 230 million unintended births each year. Worldwide, roughly 358,000 women and 3 million newborn babies die each year because of complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. Nearly all of these deaths occur in developing countries, where 10 to 15 percent of pregnancies end in maternal death due to unsafe abortions….

Melinda Gates

 “Part of what I do with the (Gates) Foundation comes from that incredible social justice I had growing up and belief that all lives, all lives are of equal value,” said Gates during a recent interview with CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

About the flak over her Catholicism she said: “We’re not going to agree about everything, but that’s OK.”

Gates is promoting an ambitious family planning program — which includes raising billions of dollars to provide contraceptives to 120 million women worldwide — at the London Summit on Family Planning July 11.”New Study Finds Little Progress in Meeting Demand for Contraception in the Developing World (press release from Guttacher Institute,  19 June 2012)

A new study by the Guttmacher Institute and UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, finds that the number of women in developing countries who want to avoid pregnancy but are not using modern contraception declined only slightly between 2008 and 2012, from 226 to 222 million. However, in the 69 poorest countries—where 73% of all women with unmet need for modern contraceptives reside—the number actually increased, from 153 to 162 million women.The report, Adding It Up: Costs and Benefits of Contraceptive Services—Estimates for 2012, finds that 645 million women of reproductive age (15–49 years) in the developing world are now using modern contraceptive methods, 42 million more than in 2008. ….

[via the Science Daily article above]
Timing Pregnancy an Important Health Concern for Women
 (Apr. 11, 2012) — A new article highlights the importance of a woman’s ability to time her childbearing. The author asserts that contraception is a means of health promotion and women who work with their health care …  > read more
Deaths from IVF Are Rare but Relevant (Jan. 27, 2011) — Although still rare, maternal deaths related to in vitro fertilization are a key indicator of risks to older women, those with multiple pregnancy and those with underlying disease, warn …  > read more
Alternative Strategies to Reduce Maternal Mortality in India (Apr. 20, 2010) — A new study finds that better family planning, provision of safe abortion, and improved intrapartum and emergency obstetrical care could reduce maternal mortality in India by 75 percent in less than …  > read more
Should The Contraceptive Pill Be Available Without Prescription? (Dec. 23, 2008) — Making the contraceptive pill available without prescription will not reduce unwanted pregnancies, says an expert in an article published on the British Medical Journal …  > read more
Huge Proportion Of Maternal Deaths Worldwide Are Preventable (Feb. 19, 2008) — Women who die during pregnancy and childbirth in sub-Saharan Africa, more may die from treatable infectious diseases than from conditions directly linked to pregnancy. These results indicate that …  > read more
[via WordPress]

July 11, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health Statistics | , , , , , | Leave a comment

For those interested in health system indicators (statistics)

142px;”>Health System Measurement Project

The Health System Measurement Project tracks government data on critical U.S. health system indicators. The website presents national trend data as well as detailed views broken out by population characteristics such as age, sex, income level, and insurance coverage status.

Not only can one view data, but one can customize graphs and tables

From the About Page

The Project focuses on ten critical dimensions of our health care system covering the availability, quality, and cost of care, the overall health of Americans, and the dynamism of the system. The Project examines the evolution of these aspects of our system over time. It also assesses the status of these dimensions of the system with respect to subgroups of the population, with a particular emphasis on vulnerable populations.

About the Topical Areas

The measures are divided into the following ten topical areas:

  • Access to Care
  • Cost and Affordability
  • Coverage
  • Health Information Technology
  • Innovation
  • Population Health
  • Prevention
  • Quality
  • Vulnerable Populations
  • Workforce

About the Functionality

With this web tool you can:

  • Quickly view data on a given topic from multiple sources
  • Compare national metrics with the same metrics measured at the regional and state level
  • See time trends for up to 10 years
  • Compare data across variables such as income, race, age, and insurance coverage type
  • View data in both graphical and table format

June 4, 2012 Posted by | health care, Health Statistics | , | Leave a comment

Diagnostic Codes & Misleading Clinical Assumptions (Explains Why Pneumonia Cases Were Underreported Nationwide)

Bottom line…an author had used codes which underreported pneumonia cases by not taking into account diagnoses where pneumonia was a secondary diagnosis

 

From NLM Director’s Comments Transcript
Diagnostic Codes & Misleading Clinical Assumptions: 05/29/2012

Purported declines in pneumonia hospitalization and mortality rates were misleading because a standardized clinical diagnostic coding system was interpreted one-dimensionally, find an illuminatingstudy and an accompanying editorial recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Both the study and the editorial suggest subtle revisions in the use of diagnostic codes and related reimbursement procedures can impact hospital data and alter inferences about patient results as well as the quality of health care provided by U.S. hospitals, clinics, and health care providers….

n the study, five authors initially found a 27 percent decline in hospitalization and a 28 percent decline in mortality rates from pneumonia during 2003-2009 by using a patient results database that is undergirded by a nationally used diagnostic code system. The coding system is called the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification, which is often referred to as ICD-9-CM. ICD-9-CM is used by hospitals, clinics, and health care providers nationwide to code patient diagnoses and is a foundation for administrative and patient records as well as insurance billing.

The study’s authors explain the Nationwide Input Sample (grounded in ICD-9-CM diagnostic codes) suggested there were significant improvements in hospitals and clinics across the U.S. in the treatment of pneumonia, which also were reported in other, smaller studies.

However, the study’s authors checked the identical dataset for hospitalization rates by using a more multidimensional definition of pneumonia within ICD-9-CM codes. The authors asked how many patients were diagnosed with sepsis and respiratory failure with a secondary diagnosis of pneumonia during the same time period? The authors found the hospitalization and respiratory rates increased by 178 percent and nine percent respectively for patients diagnosed with sepsis and respiratory failure with a secondary diagnosis of pneumonia.

When the study’s authors then combined a primary and secondary pneumonia diagnoses from the same dataset, they found an overall 12 percent decline in pneumonia-related admissions and a six percent increase in mortality occurred from 2003-2009. In other words, the addition of two other codes for pneumonia diagnoses partially refuted the initial reports of highly reduced hospitalization and mortality from pneumonia.

The study’s authors write (and we quote) ‘the results suggest that secular trends in documentation and coding, rather than improvements in actual outcomes, may explain much of the observed change in this and other studies’ (end of quote).

The study’s authors explain the current research is the first to assess hospitalization and mortality rates using a multidimensional diagnostic definition of pneumonia.

Similarly, the editorial’s authors write and we quote): ‘nuances in the assignment of principal and secondary diagnoses (in ICD-9-CM codes) can also affect assessment of hospital performance’ (end of quote).

Among other examples, the editorial’s authors add the use of sepsis as a diagnosis among patients with pneumonia may have increased significantly from 2003-2009 because the reimbursement potential for sepsis (based on diagnosis related groups) was higher than pneumonia during this period. The editorial’s authors write (and we quote): ‘Under prospective payment, there is a wide variation in reimbursement for different diagnosis related groups (DRGs), creating incentives to identify principal diagnoses associated with higher reimbursing DRGs’ (end of quote).

While the editorial’s authors acknowledge ICD-9-CM codes and DRGs (as well as other, related information) make it easier to use administrative data to assess health care delivery and quality of care, they underscore it is important to judiciously interpret the methods and findings. The editorial’s authors conclude (and we quote): ‘the potential for misleading interpretation of findings based on naïve analysis of administrative data and a lack of appreciation of the nuances in diagnostic coding will continue to be a problem’ (end of quote).

Meanwhile, MedlinePlus.gov’s health insurance health topic page provides insights into the bottom line byproduct of diagnostic codes that impactpatients and health consumers — how to pay for a provider’s or health organization’s charges.

MedlinePlus.gov’s health insurance health topic page provides two overviews of health insurance from the American Academy of Family Physicians in the ‘start here’ section. A helpful guide to 10 ways to make health benefits work for you (from the U.S. Department of Labor) also is available in the ‘start here’ section.

A website from the American College of Physicians and the American Association of Retired Persons (available in the ‘related issues’ section) helps you understand some of the pending changes in health insurance associated with the comprehensive health care law the U.S. Congress passed in 2010.

MedlinePlus.gov’s health insurance health topic page additionally contains updated research summaries, which are available within the ‘research’ section. Links to the latest pertinent journal research articles are available in the ‘journal articles’ section. From the health insurance health topic page, you can sign up to receive email updates with links to new information as it becomes available on MedlinePlus.

To find MedlinePlus.gov’s health insurance health topic page, type ‘health insurance’ in the search box on MedlinePlus.gov’s home page, then, click on ‘health insurance (National Library of Medicine).’

MedlinePlus.gov also contains related health topic pages on: Financial Assistance, Managed Care, Medicaid, Medicare, and Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage.

Before I go, this reminder……. MedlinePlus.gov is authoritative. It’s free. We do not accept advertising …and is written to help you.

 

 

June 4, 2012 Posted by | Health Statistics | , , | Leave a comment

Trending Now: Using Social Media to Predict and Track Disease Outbreaks (with links to related Websites & apps)

Engelbart Prize: HealthMap

Image by rosefirerising via Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/69145729@N00/4438384922

[Abstract from Full Text Reports]

Source:  Environmental Health Perspectives

It’s winter, flu season, and you’re at your computer feeling a bit woozy, with an unwanted swelling in the back of your throat and a headache coming on. If you’re like millions of other people, you might engage in a moment of Internet-enabled self-diagnosis. You pop your symptoms into a search engine, and in the blink of an eye dozens of health-related websites appear on your screen. That search supplied you with information—some useful and some not—but in today’s hyper-connected world, it also supplied a data point for those who survey disease outbreaks by monitoring how people report symptoms via social media. In fact, social media, cell phones, and other communication modes have opened up a two-way street in health research, supplying not just a portal for delivering information to the public but also a channel by which people reveal their concerns, locations, and physical movements from one place to another.

That two-way street is transforming disease surveillance and the way that health officials respond to disasters and pandemics. It’s also raising hard questions about privacy and about how data streams generated by cell-phone and social-media use might be made available for health research. “There’s a challenge here in that some of these [data] systems are tightening in terms of access,” says John Brownstein, director of the computational epidemiology group at Children’s Hospital Boston and an associate professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. “But we are seeing a movement towards data philanthropy in that companies are looking for ways to release data for health research without risking privacy. And at the same time, government officials and institutions at all levels see the data’s value and potential. To me, that’s very exciting.”
(Read the entire article for insights in improving surveillance, investigating social networks, and accuracy of social networks)

Excerpts from the ehp article

  • A pioneer in this field, Brownstein worked with collaborators at Children’s Hospital Boston to launch one of the earliest social media tools in infectious disease surveillance, a website called HealthMap (http://healthmap.org/) that mines news websites, government alerts, eyewitness accounts, and other data sources for outbreaks of various illnesses reported around the world. The site aggregates those cases on a global map, with outbreaks displayed in real time. Brownstein’s team recently launched Outbreaks Near Me, an iPhone application that delivers HealthMap directly to cell-phone users.
  • Flu Near You (https://flunearyou.org/), a website created with the American Public Health Association and the Skoll Global Threats Fund of San Francisco, California, which allows individuals to serve as potential disease sentinels by reporting their health status on a weekly basis.
  • Google launched Google Flu Trends (http://www.google.org/flutrends/), a website that allows people to compare volumes of flu-related search activity against reported incidence rates for the illness displayed graphically on a map.

January 6, 2012 Posted by | Health Statistics, Public Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

Telltale Statistics from The Real State of America Atlas [Science Is Everyone's Story]

Telltale Statistics from The Real State of America Atlas  [Blog item from Science Is Everyone's Story]

by  Kat Friedrich

Since I’ve heard through the rumor mill that search engines and blog readers like bullet points, I’ve decided to toss Google a bone. This post is a series of statistics from The Real State of America Atlas: Mapping the Myths and Truths of the United States. These numbers may surprise you.

The Real State of America Atlas

Poverty and housing

  • In 2000, 12 percent of Native American houses on reservations lacked complete plumbing. This situation is almost nonexistent in the rest of the United States.
  • In 2009, 32 percent of Native Americans were living below the federally set poverty line. The matching statistic for whites was 9 percent.
  • Subprime mortgage lending has led to many people losing their homes. 61 percent of African-American women who borrowed mortgages in 2005 received subprime ones. The matching statistic for white women was 22 percent.

Journalism and diversity

  • In 2008, 88 percent of United States radio reporters and 76 percent of TV journalists were white. (In 2009, 75 percent of United States residents identified as white.)
  • 53 percent of foreign-born residents of the United States are from Latin America.
  • The national average number of foreign-born workers in the labor force is 16 percent.
  • Meanwhile, 64 percent of United States newspapers reduced their coverage of international news between 2007 and 2009. It’s unlikely immigrants made those newsroom decisions.

Environmental emotions and actions

  • 61 percent of Americans surveyed said they were sympathetic to the environmental movement in 2010.
  • As of November 2010, there were 1,280 Superfund sites in the United States in line for cleanup, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Does sympathy equal action? Not necessarily.
  • In 2005, women became the majority of motor vehicle owners in the United States. However, only 26 percent of auto industry employees are women. Women are also more likely than men to believe global warming is a serious concern. Guess who’s designing our cars?

 

January 3, 2012 Posted by | Health Statistics | , | Leave a comment

Health, United States is an annual report on trends in health statistics

Janice Flahiff:

Image of Health, United States, 2010 book cover

 

Health United States is an annual report on trends in health statistics.

Health, United States presents national trends in health statistics on suchtopics Adobe PDF file [PDF - 10.5 MB] as birth and death rates, infant mortality, life expectancy, morbidity and health status, risk factors, use of ambulatory and inpatient care, health personnel and facilities, financing of health care, health insurance and managed care, and other health topics.

Need help getting started on how to get information in this report? Click here.
FAQs about this report may be found here. 

 

From the Web Page

Health, United States is an annual report on trends in health statistics.

 

Related articles

Originally posted on Chronic Pain Management:

We all hear of The Center For Disease Control when something is going wrong but there is more for us to take advantage of with them.  Visit their site and take a look at the information there.

Health, United States, is an annual report on trends in health statistics.

CDC.gov is CDC’s, (Center for Disease Control)  primary online communication channel for health information.

Yearly, there are close to 500 million views to the site.  With an average of 41 million views per month.

Take advantage of The Center For Disease Control this health information.

CDC.gov supplies users with credible, reliable health information.

http://www.cdc.gov/

Visit Today

View original

December 29, 2011 Posted by | health AND statistics, Health Statistics | , | Leave a comment

PubMed Health – A Growing Resource for Clinical Effectiveness Information

Screen capture of PubMed Health homepage.

From the November NLM Technical Bulletin article

PubMed Health — A Growing Resource for Clinical Effectiveness Information

PubMed® Health developed further as a resource for clinical effectiveness research with its August and September 2011 releases. Growing from around 200 items based on systematic reviews to over 5,000, PubMed Health has also begun a collection focused on helping people understand systematic reviews and their results. PubMed Health goals are: helping users find the evidence that could answer their questions about effects of health care and helping them understand what they find.

Making Systematic Reviews More Accessible
Systematic reviews that identify and interpret studies on the effects of health care form an essential research basis for informed decision-making. Systematic reviewing has been growing, especially with the advent of The Cochrane Collaboration and the increasing incorporation of this methodology in health technology assessment by public agencies and clinical practice guideline development.

Systematic reviews (including health technology assessments) are often lengthy and highly technical. Their evolution has been accompanied by a growth in knowledge translation activity. Along with traditional abstracts, various forms have been developed to help people use systematic reviews: executive and policymaker summaries, summaries or other forms for patients/consumers and summaries for clinicians.

However, these materials have been scattered widely on content providers’ Web sites without being collected centrally. Many of the systematic reviews undertaken by public health technology assessment agencies have also remained outside the National Library of Medicine® (NLM®) system. The PubMed Health initiative is gathering them together within a single searchable resource.

PubMed Health Content
PubMed Health contains systematic reviews and summaries of systematic reviews undertaken or updated in roughly the last ten years. The time limit is applied to publication date of around eight years, to allow for the time lag from the date of the evidence search. The cut-off currently is 2003.

New content incorporated in these releases include summaries from The Cochrane Collaboration and the National Health Service (NHS) National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment Programme. There are also full text reviews from the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the Drug Effectiveness Review Project (DERP) at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), England’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines program, and the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Evidence-based Synthesis Program. From NHS Choices comes “Behind the Headlines”, its educational service on the science behind the news. These new content providers join PubMed Health original consumer clinical effectiveness content for consumers content provided by AHRQ and the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

The reviews and review summaries now in PubMed Health account for perhaps one-third of the good quality systematic reviews published by public agencies and journals worldwide. Most of the remainder can be found in PubMed “Clinical Queries” Systematic Reviews search which runs simultaneously with a PubMed Health search; those PubMed results are presented as links on the right-hand portion of the results page (see #3 in Figure 4).

Organization
The re-designed homepage (see Figure 1) includes four key sections:

  • Contents: a complete alphabetical listing of all titles, sorted by type of content.
  • Behind Headlines: the NHS guide to the science behind health stories in the news.
  • New & updated: content added in the last 60 days.
  • Featured reviews: high quality reviews on interesting topics are selected and featured here. “Previously featured reviews” are provided in an RSS feed to which people can subscribe.
  • Understanding clinical effectiveness: an explanation of clinical effectiveness research along with a section focusing on resources to help people understand systematic reviews and interpret the results.

Screen capture of PubMed Health homepage.
Figure 1: PubMed Health homepage.

A drop-down box under “Contents” (see Figure 2) shows the categories of information currently included in PubMed Health where these are available:

  • For consumers: includes consumer summaries of systematic reviews as well as consumer information based on systematic reviews.
  • Executive summaries: executive or policymaker summaries of systematic reviews.
  • Clinical guides: clinician summaries of systematic reviews as well as clinical practice guidelines that are based on a fully reported systematic review.
  • Full text reviews: systematic reviews with full texts, including PDF versions.
  • Medical encyclopedia: medical and drug information for consumers for supplementary background information.

PubMed Health includes content that is currently also cited in PubMed, and PubMed Health will systematically be building in links to these citations. However, there will be some time lag for many items between inclusion in PubMed Health and citation in PubMed. Consumer content from PubMed Health is currently not included in PubMed.

Screen capture of Contents drop-down box.
Figure 2: Contents drop-down box.

At the top right-hand corner (see Figure 3), “About PubMed Health” explains the Web site and the National Center Biotechnology Information, NLM, with a full listing of content providers. “Help” includes explanation of basic functions, along with suggested citations for PubMed Health content.

Screen capture of About PubMed Health and Help features.
Figure 3: About PubMed Health and Help features.

Searching
The primary search (see #1 in Figure 4) returns clinical effectiveness content by relevance, with the option of viewing all (default) or only specified content types. Relevant medical encyclopedia results are shown at the right (see #2 inFigure 4), with the results of the “Clinical Queries” filter search for systematic reviews in PubMed showing below those (see #3 in Figure 4). “Clinical Queries” returns results chronologically.

Screen capture of Search results.
Figure 4: Search results.

Additional Features
With medical encyclopedia content, PubMed Health has enhanced the display of anatomical images and given this popular feature a more prominent position. There are links from the medical encyclopedia diseases and conditions pages to MedlinePlus® content.

PubMed Health now features “Add this” sharing for e-mail and social media. Coming in the fall, PubMed Health will begin a Twitter feed, announcing new content providers and features, as well as featured content.

PubMed Health full address: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/
Shortcut: http://www.pubmed.gov/health
Customer service contact: pmh-help@ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

By Hilda Bastian
National Center for Biotechnology Information

 


November 16, 2011 Posted by | Biomedical Research Resources, Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, health care, Health Statistics, Librarian Resources, Professional Health Care Resources, Tutorials/Finding aids | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Report Finds Children in Rural Areas Face Different Health Challenges

New Report Finds Children in Rural Areas Face Different Health Challenges
Children in rural areas are more likely to face different challenges to their health and have less access to care when compared with children in urban areas, according to a new report from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)

Child poverty more common in rural areas
(http://irjci.blogspot.com/2011/10/child-poverty-more-common-in-rural.html)

 

From the Web site

Findings include:

  • Children living in rural areas are more likely to have public insurance, such as Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, while urban children are more likely to be privately insured.
  • The percentage of children with chronic conditions such as obesity, asthma and diabetes is highest amongst teenagers living in small rural areas.

The National Survey of Children’s Health is sponsored by HRSA’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau. Technical appendices at the end of the book present information about the survey methodology and sample. To see more in-depth information about the book and its findings, visi tmchb.hrsa.gov/nsch/07rural.

October 29, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health Statistics, Public Health | , , | Leave a comment

The Social Life of Health Information, 2011

Excerpts from the Pew Report summary

The internet has changed people’s relationships with information. Our data consistently show that doctors, nurses and other health professionals continue to be the first choice for most people with health concerns, but online resources, including advice from peers, are a significant source of health information in the U.S.

These findings are based on a national telephone survey conducted in August and September 2010 among 3,001 adults in the U.S. The complete methodology and results are appended to this report.

The survey finds that, of the 74% of adults who use the internet:

  • 80% of internet users have looked online for information about any of the 15 health topics asked about such as a specific disease or treatment. This translates to 59% of all adults.
  • 34% of internet users, or 25% of adults, have read someone else’s commentary or experience about health or medical issues on an online news group, website or blog.
  • 25% of internet users, or 19% of adults, have watched an online video about health or medical issues.
  • 24% of internet users, or 18% of adults, have consulted online reviews of particular drugs or medical treatments.
  • 18% of internet users, or 13% of adults, have gone online to find others who might have health concerns similar to theirs.
  • 16% of internet users, or 12% of adults, have consulted online rankings or reviews of doctors or other providers.
  • 15% of internet users, or 11% of adults, have consulted online rankings or reviews of hospitals or other medical facilities.

Continue reading the full report at pewinternet.org.

May 18, 2011 Posted by | Health Statistics | , | 1 Comment

Food Environment Atlas / Food Desert Locator

headerImages

The USDA’s Food Environment Atlas allows one to “get a spacial view of a community’s ability to access healthy food and its success in doing so”.

County level statistics can be viewed on food choices, health and well-being indicators, and community characteristics.


The Food Desert Locator identifies low-income census tracts where a substantial number or share of residents has low access to a supermarket or large grocery store. The interactive map is similar to the Food Environment Atlas.

May 6, 2011 Posted by | Finding Aids/Directories, Health Statistics, Public Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

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