Are community-level financial data adequate to assess population health investments?

Prev Chronic Dis. 2012;9:E136. doi: 10.5888/pcd9.120066.


The variation in health outcomes among communities results largely from different levels of financial and nonfinancial policy investments over time; these natural experiments should offer investment and policy guidance for a business model on population health. However, little such guidance exists. We examined the availability of data in a sample of Wisconsin counties for expenditures in selected categories of health care, public health, human services, income support, job development, and education. We found, as predicted by the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics in 2002, that availability is often limited by the challenges of difficulty in locating useable data, a lack of resources among public agencies to upgrade information technology systems for making data more usable and accessible to the public, and a lack of enterprise-wide coordination and geographic detail in data collection efforts. These challenges must be overcome to provide policy-relevant information for optimal population health resource allocation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Budgets
  • Child
  • Child Development
  • Community Health Services / economics*
  • Community Health Services / methods
  • Employment / methods
  • Female
  • Health Expenditures*
  • Health Promotion / economics*
  • Health Promotion / methods
  • Health Promotion / standards
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Investments
  • Local Government
  • Male
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care / methods*
  • Population Surveillance
  • Public Health*
  • Wisconsin