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Multiple Measures on the Environmental Public Health Tracking Network

Wall, Patrick BS; Kassinger, Craig BS

Journal of Public Health Management and Practice: March/April 2015 - Volume 21 - Issue - p S36–S43
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0000000000000185
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Setting: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Environmental Public Health Tracking Program is leading an initiative to build a National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network (Tracking Network) that integrates data into a network of standardized electronic data to provide valid scientific information on environmental exposures and adverse health conditions, as well as spatial and temporal relations between them. The Web-based Tracking Network is designed for different audiences including government, the academic community, and the public. A primary goal of the Tracking Network is to allow the exploration of data on health effects, environments, and demographics. The wide variety of data types along with stratifications present a complex problem when developing system functionality to query and display disparate data simultaneously in a comparable way using charts, tables, and maps.

Objective: While the ability to query and display data that span across geographies and multiple time periods for a single type of data has been the main feature set of the Tracking Network, allowing the same for multiple data types is needed to enable users to explore trends and possible associations among health and environmental data.

Methods: As a first step, a multidisciplinary team was formed to address complex issues related to developing the ability to view multiple measures on the Tracking Network. The team then iterated through steps involving requirements gathering, the segmentation of the requirements into functional areas, submission of proposals to address those functional areas, and finally evaluation of the proposals to address functional areas.

Conclusions: Adding the ability to view multiple measures is an important step to improve Tracking Network users' exploration of the environmental health status of their communities. With this capability, public health practitioners and other users can formulate hypotheses, analyze trends, and explore possible relationships across a wide variety of environmental and health information.

The article describes health, environmental, and demographic measures across multiple time periods and multiple geographies on the Environmental Public Health Tracking Network.

National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia.

Correspondence: Patrick Wall, BS, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Hwy, NE, M/S F-60, Atlanta, GA 30341 (pwall@cdc.gov).

The findings and conclusions in the report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.