Updated: Aug 12, 2022
What tools are used by the CDC to effectively track medical data and public health records? In this article, we are going to discuss just a few tools that are in the “CDC Toolkit.”
First in the toolbox, and one of the most important and future oriented in my opinion, are the CDC US Growth Charts, a series of percentile curves that show the distribution of different body measurements such as height, weight, and BMI (body mass index) [Quick note: If you would like to calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI) go ahead and click this link: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/adult_bmi/english_bmi_calculator/bmi_calculator.html] to track the growth of children and teens since 1977. These are used by doctors and health professionals to check if your child’s growth is adequate. Click the first link in sources to learn more.
Another important tool (that is actually more useful to scientific researchers and bloggers like me) is the CDC VitalSigns network. It is a webpage on the cdc.gov website that has a ton of newly researched information and journal articles that people like you and me can read to stay up to date on the medical field. Some examples of new articles include Vaccination information, screening on cancer, and information on a disease called Acute Flaccid Myelitis. Click the second link in sources to learn more.
One more tool that is helpful to public health professionals, researchers, and health care policy makers are provider surveys. Provider surveys are carefully selected questionnaires that are designed to be completed by clinical staff in an ambulatory setting. One very prominent provider survey is the National Hospital Care Survey. It is designed to provide accurate and reliable health care statistics and that answers key questions to improve health care, including tracking the latest trends affect health care organizations and factors affecting availability to health care resources. It also collects data on patient care in hospital based settings to describe patterns on health care delivery and utilization in the US.
Another super helpful tool in the CDC toolkit is CDC WONDER - Wide-ranging Online Data for Epidemiological Research - an easy to use, menu-driven system that provides easy access to a wide array of public health information that is available to public health professionals, and even the public. It is so helpful, even for me, because it speeds and simplifies my access to public health information, so it would also aid state and local health departments’ decision making, priority setting, resource allocation, and program evaluation, as well as the academic public health community. With CDC Wonder you can access statistical research data published by the CDC (including reference materials, reports, and guidelines on on health-related topics) and access data sets about mortality, cancer incidence, tuberculosis, vaccinations, natality, and many other topics available for query.
The final tool in the CDC toolkit that I am going to be covering today is called Stats of the States. It’s an user-friendly data visualization tool to easily look at data about diseases, deaths, and births across the states. All the data is on a huge US map where you can easily see all the data at the same time. Since it’s from the CDC Pressroom, it’s used to promote health to the public, but not as much for health care professionals, though.
As you can see, the CDC has so many tools that you can access in case of a school report or due to research needs; the same tools that researchers and public health professionals use.