Data and Sources - QI Toolbox - Minnesota Dept. of Health

Data and Data Sources

Public Health & QI ToolboxHow to Find and Use Data
Tools for Data Collection
Minnesota Data Sources
Federal Data Sources

Data can support QI initiatives by proving efficacy, showing opportunities for further growth, and illustrating changing needs. However, sometimes data can be intimidating: Why does it matter? How do we use it? How can we make the most of data?

How to Find and Use Data

It's important to ask yourself a number of questions before you start collecting data, to ensure you're collecting the right kind of data to meet your needs.

What story do you want to tell?

Think about these questions prior to collecting data:

  • Would you like to describe the problem in a holistic manner, or highlight a specific component of the problem?
  • Do you want to support a specific solution, or engage others in a collaborative decision-making process?
  • Do you want to frame your story from the perspective of a certain person or population?

What kind of data can tell that story?

  • Incremental data over time
  • Point-in-time snapshot
  • Exact measures, averages, or ranges

How can you use data to drive improvement?

The right data can help you:

  • Identify the problem
  • Define the problem
  • Communicate the scope, relevance, and importance of the problem
  • Devise appropriate interventions for the problem

Tools for Data Collection

Many of the tools in the Public Health and QI Toolbox can be used to collect and display data. You and your organization can collect data on a large or small scale using these tools, or you can visit a data source below with information on a much larger scale.

Minnesota Data Sources

Minnesota Public Health Data Access
Provides Minnesota data about health, the environment, and other risk factors that may impact public health

Minnesota Community Measurement
Provides information on health care delivery at many levels, as well as information on reimbursement levels

Minnesota Compass
Measures state and regional progress on social indicators

Minnesota Guide to Data Indicators for County Health Assessments (PDF)
Provides counties with questions to consider when collecting and analyzing data, a list of selected indicators, links to the indicator's website, and data sources for other indicators

Minnesota Immunization Information Connection (MIIC)
Provides data to assist in preventing disease through immunization

Minnesota Center for Health Data
Provides data on state- and county-level public health measures

Federal Data Sources

CDC: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)
Tracks health conditions and risk behaviors, at varying levels

CDC Wonder
Provides ad-hoc query system for many facets of public health data

Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS)
Measures performance on dimensions of care and service; tracked by health plans

Kaiser Family Foundation: State Health Facts
Allows state-by-state comparison of demographics, health status, insurance coverage, public program participation, and more

SHADAC Data Assistance Center
Provides information on health insurance coverage at the state and national level

National Immunization Survey
Provides information on levels of immunization among children/teens
Collection of data sets on public health and health care

US Census
Provides demographic data on individuals, households, and business/industry