community health assessment, health disparities, population-based data, Web-based data query system



  1. Solet, David PhD
  2. Glusker, Ann PhD
  3. Laurent, Amy MSPH
  4. Yu, Tianji MPH


Flexible, ready access to community health assessment data is a feature of innovative Web-based data query systems. An example is VistaPHw, which provides access to Washington state data and statistics used in community health assessment. Because of its flexible analysis options, VistaPHw customizes local, population-based results to be relevant to public health decision-making. The advantages of two innovations, dynamic grouping and the Custom Data Module, are described. Dynamic grouping permits the creation of user-defined aggregations of geographic areas, age groups, race categories, and years. Standard VistaPHw measures such as rates, confidence intervals, and other statistics may then be calculated for the new groups. Dynamic grouping has provided data for major, successful grant proposals, building partnerships with local governments and organizations, and informing program planning for community organizations. The Custom Data Module allows users to prepare virtually any dataset so it may be analyzed in VistaPHw. Uses for this module may include datasets too sensitive to be placed on a Web server or datasets that are not standardized across the state. Limitations and other system needs are also discussed.