This post originally appeared as a Kentucky Youth Advocates blog post written by Health Policy Director, Stephen Lin. You can view it online here.
Data transparency is one of the current hot topics in Kentucky health, and while this sounds like an abstract or even confusing term, data transparency actually means laying out the facts so that everyone can understand them. It refers to the openness of health departments, service providers, managed care organizations, and others to provide adequate and reliable data publicly for external research, analysis, monitoring, and accountability.
Louisville Metro Public Health and Wellness is one of the first organizations in Kentucky to take steps to ensure that health data is transparent and available to the public. They have launched a website, Healthy Louisville, to educate individuals, organizations, and policymakers about the health of their community. The website provides current data, research, articles, and resources that relate to the overall health of the community. An interactive dashboard displays measures for various health indicators. Some of the indicators include:
- Access to health services
- Environmental and occupational health
- Exercise, nutrition, and weight
- Oral health
- Maternal and fetal health
- Prevention and safety
- Teen and adolescent health
Healthy Louisville also captures data on a number of topics relating to children’s health. These subtopics include:
- Children with Health Insurance
- Lead Poisoning
- Children Attending Childcare with Immunizations
- Kindergartners and Sixth-Graders who are obese.
Although this data may not encompass all metrics or topics for research, Healthy Louisville is a starting point for data transparency in the state of Kentucky. A statewide version of this site could provide data and research information that would allow Kentuckians to improve their communities. They could also better hold healthcare providers, government organizations, and insurances companies accountable for their policies, payments, and coverage.
With a statewide data center, children could thrive in healthy communities because someone was advocating for their health based on data that was transparent.