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Publications, working papers, and other research using data resources from IPUMS.

Ahuja, Manik 2015. Strengthening Public Health through Web-Based Data Query Systems.

Aggregate level local health data has become more easily available to the public through Web-Based Data Query Systems (WDQS). Local health data can be a powerful vehicle for improving the health of a community. When aggregated, local health data help monitor the incidence, trends, and patterns and disease in a given population. WDQS make local health data easily available over the internet. WDQS are interactive and have the capability for users to query off multiple datasets and to pre-select variables. Despite the advantages of WDQS, only 29 states have implemented them. States that have not implemented WDQS are using outdated technologies such as static reports to share their health data. We conducted a three part study to investigate the challenges state agencies face with their implementation of WDQS. The three part study included a systematic review of literature, a Delphi study, and a survey of state health coordinators in all fifty states. We found that the high cost of system development, data sharing between state agencies, inadequate staffing, standardization of vocabulary between datasets and a lack of understanding of how consumers use their data as the most challenging. Website performance, poor website usability, the cost of hardware/software, privacy/security, data storage, and the ability large data sets are less of a problem. The contribution of this project was significant in developing an understanding of key gaps in knowledge on problems in the development and usage of WDQSs. In the long term, we anticipate that having more useful data will help lead to improved health surveillance and more informed and targeted interventions at the local level.