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Community Health Assessment Data Visualized

Posted By Lois Haggard, Friday, April 8, 2016
Updated: Thursday, March 31, 2016

The New Mexico Department of Health has made significant improvements to its Indicator-based Information System for Public Health (NM-IBIS, https://ibis.health.state.nm.us), a web-based population health assessment and data query tool. New Mexico is one of about a dozen public health organizations, known as the IBIS-PH Community of Practice (http://www.ibisph.org), currently using the software and contributing to its development.

The IBIS-PH website content is maintained by public health program staff (subject-matter experts) across the department. Distributing the workload not only makes it feasible to keep the content up to date, but it ensures that the content reflects the public health communication objectives for a given topic.

The latest version of IBIS-PH features significant improvements in data discovery and visualization. Data discovery includes navigation by health topic.

The new data visualization features include interactive graphics (tables that sort and user-specified graph types) as well as dynamic maps for both our indicator reports (https://ibis.health.state.nm.us/indicator/index/Alphabetical.html) and custom data queries (https://ibis.health.state.nm.us/query/ContentUsage.html).

One of the features that is popular with community groups is the “Community Snapshot Report” (https://ibis.health.state.nm.us/community/snapshot/Builder.html). That report allows New Mexico communities to see at a glance how they compare to the state overall and the U.S.

NM-IBIS is used by community members, epidemiologists, educators, researchers, legislators, non-profits, and many other groups to access data and information on a broad range of New Mexico’s priority health issues. Use of the system has steadily grown since the release of the latest version in March of 2015. Currently the system is seeing about 1,000 unique users each week. That is 1,000 different people finding New Mexico data and information for public health assessment and other purposes. A recent increase in use during the state’s 2016 one-month legislative session was very encouraging.

“NM-IBIS has changed the way we share health data in New Mexico,” says New Mexico State Epidemiologist Michael Landen. “Disseminating data through IBIS not only maintains the security of the data, but using IBIS, we can provide data with a public health message at the same time.”

Most NM-IBIS users live within the state’s borders, but since it’s a public website, NM-IBIS regularly sees users from other states, and places as far-flung as Australia, Sweden and Spain.

States interested in adopting the IBIS-PH software can visit the IBIS-PH Community of Practice “Adopt IBIS” (http://www.ibisph.org/trac/wiki/adoptibis) page.

Lois M. Haggard, PhD is community epidemiologist and program manager of the Community Health Assessment Program at the New Mexico Department of Health. To learn more about surveillance, consider joining and participating in subcommittees in the CSTE Surveillance/Informatics Steering Committee.

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