Trends in Health and Aging: An Online Tool for Professionals
Lentzner, Harold, Aging Today
EASY ACCESS TO STATS-AND MORE
In the midst of writing a grant proposal or report, professionals in aging often find themselves asking, "Where can I find those statistics? I know I saw them last week-or was it last summer? I'll never meet this deadline." Those who rely on data to develop and run programs, make policy, do research or teach know they're blessed with an abundance of health information in the United Statesbut frequently, they don't know how to find it quickly or organize it efficiently.
Trends in Health and Aging (THA), a Web-based tool developed and maintained by the National Center for Health Statistics, attempts to connect consumers of information on health and aging with suppliers of such data by providing userfriendly access to up-to-date information on the health and well-being of older Americans.
Because so much information is available, the project focuses on trends in such important measures as life expectancy and death rates; the prevalence of leading chronic conditions; the use of inpatient, outpatient, nursing home and home healthcare; and functional status and behavioral risk factors. In each case, THA offers national or state-level data collected via federal systems.
THA is a collection of tables showing statistical trends in health and aging with indicators displayed over time and by age, sex and race. To obtain the material, users can visit the THA website and, free of charge, select a table or tables of information to extract needed data or customize a table to suit their needs. Professionals can, for example, summarize the data in a bar graph, line graph or pie chart and download it to their computer or presentation software.
Other features of THA give users ready access to important documentation about the data they are using and offer tools to create new summary statistics, map statebased data or employ statistical testing. A Spanish-language version is also available.
HOW THA WORKS
How does THA work? Suppose a health administrator at an agency serving elders wishes to obtain information for a report showing the effects of diabetes on older adults, their families and the healthcare system. …