Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Market Assessment Data Sources While the Government Is Shut Down

By Rebecca Polan, Capital Link Project Consultant and Market Assessment Specialist

Just because the Census website is shutdown doesn’t mean that your market assessment efforts need to be too!  Below is a list of alternate data sources that health centers can use for market research efforts.

·    HealthLandscape (www.healthlandscape.org):  In addition to a terrific visual interface, try the Community HealthView (under “Tools”) in order to access US Census data from the American Community Survey as recent as 2009, all the way down to the census tract level.  Health Landscape includes demographic data, health outcome data, HPSAs, health facility locations and more.   Just select your map, and click the data export tab on the top left and the data is yours!

·     UDS Mapper (www.udsmapper.org):  The UDS Mapper offers basic income, poverty and ethnicity data at the zip code level, also from the Census American Community Survey (ACS) database, for 2011.  In addition, get aggregate FQHC patient data for 2012, also at the zip code level.  The UDS Mapper was brought to us by the creators of HealthLandscape, so the interface, including the data download options, is very similar.

·    Upset that the Census’ Small Area Health Insurance Estimates are not available?  This "Mapgirl" is.  Try the following sources for data on the uninsured:

o   PolicyMap (http://www.policymap.com/maps):  While you can’t access the data behind the maps, you will see very detailed visual data on the uninsured population for 2010 in your county by age as well as by income (including at or below 200% of poverty).  In addition PolicyMap has a wealth of other maps available for free that provide a bird’s eye view understanding of neighborhood conditions, demographics, economic indicators and more.

o   Community Health Status Indicators (http://wwwn.cdc.gov/CommunityHealth/homepage.aspx?j=1):  CHSI is one of the few Center for Disease and Control sites that is still open.  Find your county, click on Access to Care and find the exact number of uninsured individuals in your county for 2009.

o   State databases for Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data:  BRFSS data is available in most states down to at least the county level via state databases.  A quick web search will allow you to access a wealth of data regarding health insurance status, access to care, as well as a number of behavioral data points related to drinking, smoking, exercise, etc.

For more data options, see http://mashable.com/2013/10/02/government-shutdown-websites/. If you have any questions as you explore these resources, feel free to contact Rebecca Polan, (also known as Mapgirl) at rpolan@caplink.org.

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