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Data! forum showcases innovative ways to use health data

Nov 9, 2015

On Oct. 29, Interact for Health and the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky welcomed about 200 health and data professionals to the NKU METS Center for Data! Fostering Health Innovation in Kentucky and Ohio. The daylong conference showcased novel and effective uses of health data in our region.

Keynote speakers Naomi Cytron of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and Niall Brennan of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services were among 11 presenters who shared the work they are doing with data to transform health.

Asthma inhaler usage was tracked and used to create a heat map.

Theresa Reno-Weber of the City of Louisville shared an innovative program in which participants with asthma had GPS devices placed in their inhalers. The time and place that each inhaler was used was tracked and a “heat map” was created from that data. Then city health officials could look at those times and places and decide if some action, such as planting trees or diverting traffic, could be taken to alleviate the problem.

Michelle Budznek (left) works on homelessness and poverty issues at the Partnership Center. She said that the way out of homelessness is for service providers to know the names of the people they are serving so that they are more than just a file number. The Partnership Center knows its clients’ names through VESTA, the Virtual Electronic Service Tracking Assistant. VESTA allows social service agencies in Cincinnati and Hamilton County to track and evaluate case management, referrals and other services the agencies provide. So clients’ situations and needs will be known to any providers from which they seek help for homelessness.

And Ryan Adcock of Cradle Cincinnati reminded attendees that success is not about any individual program’s results, but about the change in society that these programs bring about, such as a reduction in infant mortality.

The conference showed that there is some great health data work happening locally, and that better health comes in many ways from many angles. We need to have a tight focus on the right thing at the right moment to get the results we want to achieve.

Thank you to all who presented and attended. Videos of each presenter are available at

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