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Center for Health Systems Research & Development


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Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find a list of the data in Explorer?

There is an index of all the data in the Explorer. To access it, open the Simple Map (Series 1, 2, 3, or 4) and look for the "Data Index" button. Click on the Data Index button to open an excel file that lists data items in the Explorer, and allows the user to sort by type of data.

What is the correct way to cite the Explorer?

Cite the Explorer as follows:  North Carolina Health Data Explorer.  Center for Health Systems Research and Development, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC.  (http://www.ecu.edu/chsrd/) 2012.

Where does the data in the Explorer come from?

The data in the Explorer is gathered from a number of different public sources and compiled by staff at the Center for Health Systems Research and Development at East Carolina University.  The mortality data originates with North Carolina Vital Statistics from the State Center for Health Statistics.  The Center for Health Systems Research and Development compiles this data.

Other data in the Explorer is gathered from a variety of sources, including:  

The NC State Center for Health Statistics (http://www.schs.state.nc.us/SCHS/index.html),

The North Carolina State Data Center (http://www.osbm.state.nc.us/ncosbm/facts_and_figures/state_data_center.shtm),

Log In to North Carolina  (http://linc.state.nc.us/),

The North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center’s Rural Data Bank (http://www.ncruralcenter.org/rural-data-bank.html),

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Division of Public Health Epidemiology Branch (http://www.epi.state.nc.us/epi/),

The US Census (http://www.census.gov/).

Users can access a complete source list for all the data items in the Explorer by clicking on the “Data Source Info” button in the application.  A word file will open that lists all the data in the order it appears in the Explorer, along with source information for that item.  The data items and their source information are also listed alphabetically by title at the bottom of the document.

How often is the data in the Explorer updated?

The mortality data in the Explorer is updated when new vital statistics data become available from the State Center for Health Statistics (about once a year).  The 2009 mortality data was posted by the SCHS in April of 2011 in a text file format.  The Center for Health Systems Research and Development compiled that data into a format suitable for the Explorer and updated it in the Explorer in October, 2011.   When new data is released we will make every effort to process it and post it to the Explorer.

The Center for Health Systems Research and Development will also track and update the other publicly available data sources in the Explorer on roughly an annual schedule.  However, users may want to check the sources for specific data items to ensure that a newer version of the data item is not available.  All data sources can be found by clicking on the “Data Source Info” button in the Explorer application.

Is it possible to compare data for more than one year in the Explorer?

The Simple Map, Double Map and Multivariate Map applications display mortality data for one year at a time.  The Time Series application allows the user to look at mortality data for a series of 10 years.  To access the Time Series application, go to the bottom of the main Explorer page and click the Time Series link.

Can a Time Series be created for comparing race and sex by county?

Currently the Explorer does not have this capability.  Whenever we can, however, we will try to build new features into the Explorer, so don’t hesitate to tell us your ideas.   Also note:  the Center for Health Systems Research and Development publishes a “Health Indicator” series on our web site that contains 28-year time series data for selected counties and regions.  See the link at: http://www.ecu.edu/cs-dhs/chsrd/HealthIndicator/HealthIndicator.cfm

Is it possible to get the data by age range?

Currently the Explorer does not have data by age range.

How can I save the image or print the Health Data Explorer?

There are several ways to print the Health Data Explorer, or to save it as an image file.

You can print the Health Data Explorer by using the print command on your Windows File menu. Use Print Preview to preview it before you print it.

You can also print by using the menu button on the map (the menu button is the small triangle located at the bottom of the zoom slider). To print, click the menu button and pick print preview, then hit print. Use the printer’s preference menu to change the orientation from portrait to landscape.

You can use the same menu button to export to an image file. Click the menu button, then click export. Choose your format (jpg or png). Then click export and select your destination file.

Once you have exported the image, copy it and you can paste it into Word or Powerpoint. You can also use the crop tool in Powerpoint to crop the image if you only want to use part of it.

You can also capture the image using SnagIt or another screen capture tool. Follow the SnagIt (or other tool’s) instructions to save as a pdf, gif, jpeg, or other type of image file. (SnagIt is available for the Mac or Windows. Follow this link for info: http://www.academicsuperstore.com/products/TechSmith/Snagit)

If you copy the image to use somewhere else, please cite it as follows:

North Carolina Health Data Explorer. Center for Health Systems Research and Development, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, 2011.

Can I Download Data from the Health Data Explorer?

The data from the Explorer can be downloaded by specific disease. To access the data go to the Simple Map and page down to the Single Disease links at the bottom. Then, click on the “link to data button.”

This will open an excel file with mortality rates by county. Data for each of the disease mortality rates are available via their single map applications.

Users may also want to verify the social, economic and environment data at its source to ensure it is up to date (all sources are listed in the data file and in the data source link on the application).

Will the Healthy North Carolina 2020 Objectives be adopted into the Explorer?

We are working on getting these objectives into the Explorer, and we hope to create a special section for them soon.

The NC CATCH system has a feature that geocodes data to census tracts. Is this sort of function possible with the Explorer? Is it planned?

Due to size limitations with the software that runs the Explorer, we do not expect to be able to offer this sort of function.

Do you have data on:

  • Fast food restaurants or supermarkets per capita?  Yes, we just added it.
  • Health care professionals that accept Medicaid or safety net providers?  No, if you know of a good source for this data at the county level let us know and we will add it.
  • Oral health measures?  We have "percent of 5th graders with untreated tooth decay", "percent of kindergarteners with untreated tooth decay", and "medicaid eligible receiving dental services" (ages 0-5, ages 6-14, and ages 15-20). These are in Series 1 of the Explorer.