The local public health indicators website is an online data resource to help measure the health of Washington communities and inform the programs and policies of state and local public health agencies.
Washington's Public Health Improvement Plan requires local measurement of health status or determinants of health. Together, the 35 indicators currently included in the local public health indicators database provide a snapshot of health status, health behavior, and public health system performance at the local level. Local public health agencies can use these data to help evaluate their work and decide where to invest limited public health resources to improve community health.
The database is also designed to work in conjunction with the National Standards for Public Health, PDF a measurement of statewide system capacity. If the indicators reveal how healthy we are, the performance standards examine the process that makes it so.
The indicators also reveal how health status or determinants of health compare across Washington health jurisdictions and with state and national averages. They help identify specific local health issues that might need improvement. They can provide health policy makers throughout the state with some of the information they need to develop effective programs and to gauge system progress in meeting specific health outcomes.
As the diagram below shows, the local public health indicators represent only part of the health information picture, drawing from only a small share of the wealth of state and local health data that are now available. In addition, Washington's counties differ in their demographic mix, economic environment, and other factors that contribute to health status. Local level variation in the indicators will reflect differences in these underlying conditions. The data collected through the local public health indicators will contribute over time to our knowledge base of the health of all Washington's communities.