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J Public Health Manag Pract. 2008 Nov-Dec;14(6):526-32. doi: 10.1097/01.PHH.0000338364.20962.3b.

Development of an interactive environmental public health tracking system for data analysis, visualization, and reporting.

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Environmental Health Surveillance, Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology, NYS Department of Health, Troy, NY 12180, USA.


Healthcare providers and governmental agencies routinely collect and report data on health outcomes. In addition, governmental agencies and industry collect and report information on environmental hazards and exposures that may impact health. Use of these data for environmental public health tracking has been a challenge because these data are managed by different data stewards, may contain confidential information that must be protected, and have not been collected in a manner to facilitate linkages. Available tools for analysis, visualization, and reporting of these data are either difficult to use or not available through a common user interface. The New York State Department of Health has developed a user-friendly interactive system to access and link these data while protecting confidential information. The Environmental Public health tracking system provides tools for describing the geographic patterns, trends, and statistical associations between health, environmental exposure, and environmental hazard data. These tools provide descriptive statistics and automated techniques that smooth the data in order to protect patient confidentiality and reduce random fluctuations in rates due to small numbers. This article describes the user interface, data linkages, and analytic, visualization, and reporting tools.

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