Category Archives: Health data

Reporting team tackles lead scourge in Philly

Susan Heavey

About Susan Heavey

Susan Heavey, (@susanheavey) a Washington, D.C.-based journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on social determinants of health and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on resources and tip sheets at determinants@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Jessica GriffinMore than 90 percent of the houses in Philadelphia were built before the 1978 lead paint ban. One here on Bonitz Street belonged to a family featured the Philadelphia Daily News’ project.

Photo: Jessica GriffinMore than 90 percent of the houses in Philadelphia were built before the 1978 lead paint ban. One, on Bonitz Street, belonged to a family featured in the project.

Reading through a recent story in the Philadelphia Daily News on lead plaguing the city’s houses, I realized the story had the same hard-driving investigative feel that I had read before.

The story, “Philly’s shame: City ignores thousands of poisoned kids,” paints a compelling multimedia picture of the historic city and the challenges it faces dealing with older homes shedding lead-tainted paint. Continue reading

Health data bazaar: Covering the legal trade in patient data

Rebecca Vesely

About Rebecca Vesely

Rebecca Vesely is AHCJ's topic leader on health information technology and a freelance writer. She has written about health IT since the late 1990s for a variety of publications.

cybersecurityThere’s a big focus these days on cybersecurity in health care, and rightly so, with the frequency and cost of data breaches.

But what about the legal trade in patient data?

Adam Tanner, a former Reuters reporter and now writer in residence at Harvard University’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science, has a new book out on the lucrative patient data industry. Continue reading

Flesh out your coverage of infectious diseases with historical data

Tara Haelle

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

Photo: Wellcome Images via Flickr

Photo: Wellcome Images via Flickr

Any time there is an outbreak of an infectious disease, the public wants to know how common it is and its risk of contracting it. When covering breaking cases, journalists should provide context by including information on historical incidence and trends.

Here are some resources for infectious diseases exclusively within the United States. Continue reading

You don’t have to wait for 2020 for U.S. Census health data

Susan Heavey

About Susan Heavey

Susan Heavey, (@susanheavey) a Washington, D.C.-based journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on social determinants of health and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on resources and tip sheets at determinants@healthjournalism.org.

The U.S. Census Bureau offers data beyond the nation’s population. It has statistics on everything from health insurance and disability to veterans and HIV/AIDS. This map shows the proportion of doctor’s offices across the country. Source:“Number of People per Doctor's Office by County and Counties with No Doctor's Offices,” U.S. Census Bureau.

The U.S. Census Bureau offers data beyond the nation’s population. It has statistics on everything from health insurance and disability to veterans and HIV/AIDS. This map shows the proportion of doctor’s offices across the country. Source: “Number of People per Doctor’s Office by County and Counties with No Doctor’s Offices,” U.S. Census Bureau.

The nation’s next population count won’t come until 2020, but in the meantime reporters can use the U.S. Census Bureau to find a host of data related to health disparities, including income, poverty status, race, age, gender and housing.

We have created this tip sheet to help AHCJ members search for information and spot trends as they cover stories whether nationally or in a particular state, county or city. You can even search by ZIP code. Continue reading

Access – or lack of access – to health information is making news

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

key-in-lock-showing-forbidden-information-graphicstockSeveral stories about access to public information have caught my eye in the past week. Whether it involves public health data from Florida, evidence in a federal criminal case or embargoes and favored access at a federal agency, it’s clear that journalists are facing obstacles in ensuring the public’s access to information.

In Rhode Island, a judge ruled in favor of a journalist seeking evidence presented in the trial of a doctor now “serving four life sentences for his role in operating a pain management clinic like a ‘pill mill.'” The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration had refused to release the records since journalist Phil Eil requested them after the trial ended in 2011. Continue reading