New Website Creates One-Stop Shop For Public Health Data

By Linda Ong |

Published 02/18 2014 06:39PM

Updated 02/18 2014 06:45PM

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Michelle Morris of the Polk County Health Center says gathering all the necessary information for a grant can be a tedious process.

"In the past, it would've been a couple of staff people going to individual sites, collecting data, writing it down, recording it. Going out to other websites," said Morris.

This changed when she tried the new Southwest Missouri Counts! website.

"I can see us utilizing it on a weekly, daily basis," she said. "It is a great opportunity for us to have data on our fingertips that we need."

The website allows free, streamlined, 24/7 access to recent public health statistics covering seven counties in southwest Missouri- Webster, Greene, Polk, Dallas, Christian, Taney, and Stone.

By navigating the website, you can search the most up-to-date statistics based on county. 

Executive director of Southwest Missouri Counts! Clay Goddard said the website is a powerful tool.

"If you're a citizen who has an interest in this type of approach, I think at the very least, it would give you an idea of how our community is doing," said Goddard. "It just provides a good snapshot of what's going on in our community."

The tool helps with research, grant writing, and identifying specific health problems in the community.

Robert Niezgoda said the database is a move towards a national trend of performance management.

"It's a way to be more accountable to the stakeholders and community partners and demonstrate that we are using data to drive decisions," said Niezgoda. "We're also tracking data to demonstrate that we are being effective- that we are utilizing our resources to accomplish something."

Goddard said he hopes to expand the website to include more counties and additional detailed public health indicators in the near future. Those who are interested in adding data to the website are encouraged to contact the organization and register.

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