Data: Come out, come out, wherever you are!

February 2nd, 2011 by avatar

Data can transform how maternity care is organized, delivered, and experienced.  I’ve written this before, and I think most of the readers of this blog would agree.

But data can’t do anything if it’s hiding.

Last year, I watched DHHS Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, announce the Community Health Data Initiative and saw the results of the pilot phase. In just six weeks, developers took newly released or already available public data and created apps and visualizations that utterly transformed how I saw the future of health and public policy. I literally sat at the edge of my seat watching some of the demos.

Take, for example, this app from Palantir (prepare to have your mind blown)

With this tool, state and local policy makers can visualize the scope and intensity of the child poverty problem, see how child poverty relates to health conditions (in this example, teen pregnancy rates), map that data with the availability of services such as Boys and Girls Clubs, see what federal funding is available and where it has been targeted, identify the leaders on the ground, and see what they’re doing to address the issues. The tool, developed in just a matter of weeks and demoed in 11 minutes, “hopefully stops us from doing a 2 year survey of the area before we make any decisions.”

Then there’s Bing Health Search:

Just a few of the features: a patient searches for a hospital by name and quality and patient satisfaction data come up as part of the search results; a policy maker maps how food deserts correlate with diabetes rates (“a complex study is now reduced to an easy exercise”); or a person looking for real estate checks out local health indicators along with schools, taxes, and other data they might use to decide where to live.

(Interested in seeing more? Check out the Health 2.0 Gallery.)

Now it’s our turn.

Childbirth Connection has just partnered with Health 2.0 to issue the first challenge dealing with maternity care, with hopes of using this opportunity to translate the consensus vision of high-quality, high-value maternity care into action.

Our challenge:

Create a data visualization tool that demonstrates geographic variation in access, procedure use, outcomes, and/or costs in maternity care to galvanize state and regional action for quality improvement.

The winning team gets a cash prize of $2,500, a meet and greet with health economist and author J.D. Kleinke (whose remarkable blog post on induction was making the rounds yesterday), and the opportunity to demo their data visualization at the Health 2.0 meeting in San Diego in March.

The expected user is a state or local policy maker or advocate. What kind of visualization would you like to see?  What kinds of problems that might normally prompt policy makers to embark on a “2 year study” could be boiled down to an “easy exercise” with the right app? Share your wildest ideas in the comments. Or better yet – sign up to join a team!

Research for Advocacy , , ,

  1. avatar
    | #1

    Right now, in Florida, rulemaking is in process to change the language which regulates birth centers. In particular, everyone is in knots over the possibility of this set of rules being crafted in such a way that practice guidelines for care providers will be impinged when the care setting is a birth center.

    One of the midwives involved in the discussion process about the rules change explained recently to a state legislator that the effects of midwifery care in birth centers has a direct and positive impact upon Medicaid spending in our state. We see this among individual providers nationwide; midwives here are certain that the same holds true here at home, and are now challenging each other to collect the financial numbers and crunch them so that they can show legislators what we already know: midwifery saves the state money, and unhindered, informed access to birth centers for mothers benefits everyone.

    So, after seeing that video from Palantir, I have these beautiful day dreams about a data hopper into which midwives would dump all their relevant numbers for analysis, allowing them to regurgitate the data in many ways. Layering data like the examples they shows – I mean, seriously, I had a little joygasm.


  2. avatar
    | #2

    Induction rates compared to NICU hours for babies born at the hospital.
    Complications listed and ranked by cost for women who choose OB/Midwife care.
    A GPS style map showing how many different types of providers a woman can find within an hour from a location. Also, an app to show, based on location, the differnt birthing options such as hosptial, birthing center, midwife at home. Which would be the cheapest out of pocket for the woman, cheapest for the govt. pay system, cheapest overall.

    Could also have some sort of app to show insurance providers in an area. Put in a career or income status and the available insurance. Show the options based on the traits of the woman (financial, race, government supplimentation). The intent is to show what a woman in certain economic strata/ in a certain community/ by a certain race might expect in insurance coverage. For example, where my husband works, as a white female dependent on his insurance, home birth is not an option. Our insurance won’t cover it though it’s likely more than half price. We cannot afford to pay up front for home birth. I have not got that option if I were to get pregnant in a month or so…I could not likely get a provider for home birth. My insurance doesn’t cover birth center births either. So, my option is to go to the hospital. I do however have the option to use a CNM, a family doctor, or an OB for a provider.

  3. avatar
    2-time home birth mother
    | #3

    I would like to see the MANA data. I know my midwife contributed data on my home births as I signed a form allowing it. Now I’d like to see what’s in that database – where is home birth, what implications are there for its safety, how accessible are home birth options and what are those options (DEM, CPM, CNM, MD), and so on. There has been significant data collection but no recent publication (I am aware of the study published six years ago in the BMJ).

  1. | #1

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