265676 Empowering Policymakers: Examining User-Friendly Data Analytic Tools

Monday, October 29, 2012

Alison Buckser, MPH , JEN Associates, Cambridge, MA
Daniel Gilden, MS , JEN Associates, Cambridge, MA
Chris Coulthard, MS , JEN Associates, Cambridge, MA
In recent years, large health data sets have become available for analysis. This is critically important to public health initiatives since policymakers can use this data to drive discussions around prevention and wellness for all populations at all ages. Unfortunately, although there is more data than ever before, it is still difficult for policymakers to ask the important questions of the data; as funds for underserved populations is cut, the data is both more important to understand and harder to obtain. Fiscal restraints have meant that many organizations have lost dedicated staff that analyze these large data sets for policymakers. While critical to protecting personal health information, HIPAA and FISMA have added additional barriers to accessing the data. Standard database approaches to these problems often require complex programming in order to extract necessary results. This session will examine a database analysis model—iMMRS—that is designed to allow policy analysts to delve into the data sets themselves, thus avoiding the need for programming staff or complex ad-hoc reporting systems. The model will be judged on its ability to meet the needs of users who are less technically oriented than traditional database users. These users want to be able to find answers to their questions quickly and without having to understand all the components of the dataset. Therefore, interfaces must be intuitive, directed at the conceptual elements of a question, and compliant with federal privacy and accessibility rules. The system must provide both intuitive data visualization tools and interfaces for the definition of complex analytic representations. The interface must support large-scale data extracts based on complex study group definitions and the production of study-ready analytic records and simple summary data forms. The interface must also be flexible enough to accommodate many different data types and be customizable based on user needs.

Learning Areas:
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Provision of health care to the public
Public health administration or related administration
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
By the end of the session, the participant will be able to: 1) Explain the importance of health data analytics for policymakers to address serious public health issues; 2) Describe the key areas a model needs to address HIPAA and FISMA issues; 3) Assess whether the design of the analytic tools is sufficiently flexible and intuitive to be used by policymakers to analyze data.

Keywords: Data/Surveillance, Evidence Based Practice

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked on the iMMRS model and trained new licensees.
Any relevant financial relationships? Yes

Name of Organization Clinical/Research Area Type of relationship
Jen Associates iMMRS Consultant

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.