If you want to find the latest information on influenza or breast cancer, or find out how your county compares to another for obesity rates, there is now a website where you can find it all.
Nebraska's health departments have been added to a new website that provides county level statistics about key health indicators, wellness education, information about health issues and medical care, news and links to local and national support groups for nearly every disease or condition.
"An individual or organization can, for instance, look up an indicator, such as lung cancer, and find out if their county statistics for this disease are better or worse than those in other areas of the state or nation," explained Central District Health Department Health Director Teresa Anderson. "If they find there is concern about their county's incidence of lung cancer, they can then look up risk factors, such as smoking rates and air quality, for their county on the same site."
Bruce Bronzan, president of Trilogy, which developed and manages the Network of Care for Public Health and Wellness, noted that the site is invaluable for the public looking for a central source of information, public health departments that need statistics for grant writing and policy makers who want to see the local trends for different health risks.
"Public health is not just the concern of public health departments," he said, adding that many different groups seek data on a regular basis, but it can be hard to find, particularly in one spot. "It's about getting information to make better decisions for your health."
Anderson said having all of the information available will help health care organizations, policy makers and others develop priorities and direct resources to have the largest impact in their communities.
On Thursday representatives of more than 14 health departments, hospitals, schools and other health providers joined a video conference with Bronzan for the launch of the website and to view a demonstration of the site.
He explained that the website has more than 200,000 pages. An individual looking for a topic need only click on the icon in the learning center to learn more about it.
For example, choosing "grief and grieving" takes a person to 23 stories in the "library," one under "symptoms," four examples of how to "take action," four "support groups," three links for "support and advocacy," six forums and 20 blogs, all related to grief.
The website also allows the reader to choose from 60 different languages to have the site translated.
The public can access information for the Central District Health Department by visiting the site here. On the left side, select "Public Health," then "Nebraska" and your district's health department.
A gray map among the headers allows you to compare your county to other Nebraska counties in a number of categories such as adult smokers, pre-term births, deaths due to motor vehicles and rate of high school graduation.
"The Network of Care will provide us with a ready source -- a complete and current site where we can go, and where others in the community can go -- to get current statistics and numbers to guide their work," Anderson said. "It will allow us to display local, state and nationally acquired data in an easily understood and immediately accessible manner."