Data

Get the Data: Hollowed-Out Public Health System Faces More Cuts Amid Virus

There is no comprehensive data on government public health spending and staffing in the U.S., and KHN and the Associated Press spent months gathering different datasets, each measuring a slightly different concept of “public health,” into a unique repository of public health data at the local, county and state levels.

Now, we’re releasing our public health infrastructure data on Github for journalists, researchers and interested readers to use.

The U.S. public health system has been starved for decades and lacks the resources to confront the worst health crisis in a century. Since 2010, spending for state public health departments has dropped by 16% per capita and spending for local health departments has fallen by 18%, according to a KHN and AP analysis of government spending on public health. At least 38,000 state and local public health jobs have disappeared since the 2008 recession, leaving a skeletal workforce for what was

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Trump Administration’s Sudden Shift on COVID Data Leaves States in the Lurch

Just as the number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 approaches new highs in some parts of the country, hospital data in Kansas and Missouri is suddenly incomplete or missing.

The Missouri Hospital Association reports that it no longer has access to the data it uses to guide state coronavirus mitigation efforts, and Kansas officials say their hospital data may be delayed.

The Trump administration this week directed hospitals to change how they report data to the federal government and how that data will be made available.

In an email, Missouri Hospital Association spokesperson Dave Dillon called the move “a major disruption.”

“All evidence suggests that Missouri’s numbers are headed in the wrong direction,” Dillon said. “And, for now, we will have very limited situational awareness. That’s all very bad news.”

The absence of the data will make it harder for health and public officials, as well as the general public,

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As Coronavirus Strikes, Crucial Data In Electronic Health Records Hard To Harvest

When President Donald Trump started touting hydroxychloroquine as “one of the biggest game changers” for treating COVID-19, researchers hoped electronic health records could quickly tell them if he was on the right track.

Yet pooling data from the digital records systems in thousands of hospitals has proved a technical nightmare thus far. That’s largely because software built by rival technology firms often cannot retrieve and share information to help doctors judge which coronavirus treatments are helping patients recover.

“I’m stunned at EHR vendors’ inability to consistently pull data from their systems,” said Dale Sanders, chief technology officer of Health Catalyst, a medical data analytics company. “It’s absolutely hampering our ability to understand and react to COVID.”

Over the past decade, federal officials have spent some $36 billion switching from paper to electronic health records, or EHRs, expecting, among other things, to harness volumes of medical data to reveal which

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Big Brother Wants To Track Your Location And Health Data. And That’s Not All Bad.

A growing mix of health and technology experts are convinced that if the United States is to ever effectively track the coronavirus and slow its spread, then both self-reported and more surreptitiously gathered personal data — a mix of information about location, travel, symptoms and health conditions ― must be gathered from millions of Americans.

With the pandemic far from over, public health needs are paramount. Public health experts say that collecting personal data may be the only way to analyze information on the massive scale needed. But how that information is used and by whom worries some privacy advocates.

A number of academics, data firms and technology companies are using mobile devices to gather data. Some use the phones’ Bluetooth signals to aid in contact tracing by registering other nearby devices. Location information recorded on smartphones can help them map whether people are staying home and where they do

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