How to use this data
How to use the report card
Just like looking both ways when you cross the street, in order to make our community healthier and more productive, we need to look back and we need to look forward.
To look back, we can track and trend these indicators (rates) over time. For the most part, selected indicators are collected year after year. Because our population changes over time, the best way to compare ourselves to ourselves and to others is by calculating a rate. Looking at that indicator rate over time tells us where we have been as a community. We can ask ourselves, is this indicator moving in a good direction, or do we seem to be stuck?
To look forward, it is important to know, for each indicator, which people are negatively reflected by this indicator and where would we find them to provide services to improve the outcomes or “bend the curve” in this indicator?
Take for example, preterm births. We, as a community, would like to have fewer preterm births,
since we know that preterm birth is the most common cause of infant death, and survivors of preterm birth may need special health care or educational interventions in order to thrive and be productive in our workforce.
Looking back: ideally, Alachua County’s preterm birth rate 12.5% (# of preterm births per 100 births) should go down year after year, and the total number of pre-term births should be fewer than observed last year.
We can compare our past or current pre-term birth rate to that of other counties and to the state. But in order to reduce the number of pre-term births, we need to take local action. To guide our interventions, we need to look forward.
Looking forward: Because we know that pre-term births are more common in pregnant women under stress, it is helpful to know where pre-term births cluster in our community, so that we can do what is possible to reduce environmental stress in those neighborhoods. One of the main stressors many women face is domestic violence, thus by addressing domestic violence we address not only the health of women, but also the health of their babies. Women in unhealthy relationships often suffer birth control sabotage or reproductive coercion by their partners. One possible intervention would be to make long acting reversible contraception available in neighborhoods where we see concentrations of pre-term births. Spacing pregnancies and addressing domestic violence can reduce childhood exposure to domestic violence and can reduce child abuse and neglect. When we take action, we then can look at the neighborhood level pre term births next year to determine whether our efforts were successful. Then, taking all our local actions into consideration, we can compare next year’s rate of infant mortality to the rate in the state of Florida.