Let's all start examining & using available 'Open Data' sources

'Big Data' or 'Open Data' is garnering a lot of attention lately. This is a short followup to a previous blog entitled "Open Data & Healthcare" published last month.

The Office of Women's Health in the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) has provided access to the Women's Health Assessment Toolkit (WHAT) and associated 'open' database on their web site at http://www.healthstatus2020.com/owh/what/OWH_FIPS__search.asp

WHAT has been developed to foster the formation, growth and success of women's health networks across the country. The WHAT is organized in four main sections to provide help local community planners:

• Identify existing assets and prioritize needs;
• Learn about the women of their area;
• Adopt measurable objectives;
• Incorporate findings into a usable planning document;

Out of curiosity, I took a quick look at what is happening in my county and state in West Virginia. Good grief! Here's some quick numbers on my state:

• Over 20% of women in WV have no health insurance, slightly more than U.S. national average. This is not good.
• Median annual earnings for women in West Virginia is $14k, with men earning approximately  $24k. (A far cry from the multi-million dollar bonuses being handed out annually on Wall Street. It's unreal.)
• Approximately 15% of women and men in West Virginia have completed a 4 year college degree. That seems really low.

Those are just some of the numbers you can look up about your state or county using the Women's Health Assessment Toolkit (WHAT) and associated 'open' database.

I think having access to 'Open Data' is going to be really useful to citizens and decision makers as we go forward in planning for America's future. Let's base our decisions on the data, not partisan bickering. We can do better!

Have you looked at the statistics for your state? Check it out.

* Take a look at the 'Open Data' section on the COSI 'Open' Health Solutions web site.