By Emily Bazar, CHCF Center for Health Reporting
Medicare users in the Santa Cruz area boast the lowest rate of avoidable emergency room visits in the state. They also happen to have the lowest rate in the nation.
This statistical tidbit comes from the health-focused Commonwealth Fund’s “Scorecard on Local Health System Performance,” released earlier this year, which offers a treasure trove of data on numerous health measures, from rates of uninsured residents to infant mortality. The data can be compared across states and regions.
Interesting, right? But so what?
Health data geeks say the “so what” is momentous: such data can identify problems or successes in public health across regions, and the findings can be used to develop solutions and create healthier places to live.
On Wednesday, some of those geeks convened at the Capitol for a briefing hosted by the California Health Policy Forum on using data to improve population health. The Forum organizes presentations on pressing health issues.