Data and 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.
For data and data sources, visit: MDH: Data and Statistics.