September 27, 2013

Do you want to know how many births or deaths were in your state during a particular year?  CDC has a database that can answer this question called CDC WONDER.  This an easy-to-use, menu-driven system that makes the information resources of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) available to public health professionals and the public at large. It provides access to a wide array of public health information.

What can you do with CDC WONDER?

  • Access statistical research data published by CDC, as well as reference materials, reports and guidelines on health-related topics;
  • Query numeric data sets on CDC’s computers, via “fill-in-the blank” web pages. Public-use data sets about mortality (deaths), cancer incidence, HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis, vaccinations, natality (births), census data and many other topics are available for query, and the requested data are readily summarized and analyzed, with dynamically calculated statistics, charts and maps.

The data is ready for use in desktop applications such as word processors, spreadsheet programs, or statistical and geographic analysis packages. File formats available include plain text (ASCII), web pages (HTML), and spreadsheet files (Tab Separated Values). All of these facilities are menu-driven, and require no special computer expertise.

How do you use CDC WONDER?

CDC WONDER presents you with an array of health related data sets. Each data set can be queried using a series of menus.

Document collections, such as CDC Prevention Guidelines, are presented in a topic list or table of contents. In some cases, a full text search option is available as well.

Statistical databases are presented in a series of “fill in the blanks” request forms. You fill in the forms to specify the criteria for your data request, and then send the request to be processed. The results of your query are usually returned within seconds. If the system is delayed processing your request, however, some queries allow you to retrieve your results later, or you can have them e-mailed to you.

When you receive your results in CDC WONDER, you can view them online and then, if you desire, save them on your personal computer so that you can load them into another program. For example, you can generate charts or maps of your data, and paste these images into word processor documents or presentations. If you request numeric data, you may wish to load the data into a spreadsheet or statistical analysis program. You can do so by clicking the “Export” button to generate a tab separated file for download. Some software support the ability to paste rows copied from the table displayed in the web page.

Please refer to Data Sets and Documentation for more information.

System Requirements

The CDC WONDER home page is located on the world wide web at Specific pages and forms within WONDER are linked to from many other sites on the web.

Most of CDC WONDER will work with most web browsers. To fully use CDC WONDER, however, you need a browser with Java Script enabled. WONDER works with Internet Explorer version 6 and above, and with the current version of Firefox (1.5 or above).

Who do I contact for questions?

For support and technical assistance with CDC WONDER, or to share your ideas and opinions, click here to contact our customer support team.

Number of Out-of-Hospital Births on the Rise

September 27, 2013

A new analysis published in the American College of Nurse-Midwives’ peer-reviewed journal reveals that women are not only choosing midwife-led, out-of-hospital births at an increasing rate in the United States, but also that the pace at which women are choosing this option appears to be accelerating.

Recent Trends in Out-Of-Hospital Births, published in the Sept. 23, 2013 edition of the Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health, also documented that substantially fewer out-of-hospital births occurred to adolescents and unmarried women in 2010 compared to 2004, and also that there were fewer preterm, low-birth-weight, and multiple births. The analysis confirms findings of previous studies suggesting that women are intentionally planning most of the out-of-hospital births. In fact, nearly all home births attended by midwives were reported as planned.

Study authors Marian MacDorman, PhD, Eugene Declercq, PhD, and T.J. Mathews, MS, analyzed national birth certificate data from 2004 to 2010, and found a 41% increase in the proportion of home births and a 43% increase in birth center births, with 10% of the home birth rise and 14% of the birth center rise occurring within the last year.

As of 2010, about 1 in 85 US births occur outside of a hospital. Researchers found that number is highest among non-Hispanic white women, with 1 in 57 of their births occurring outside a hospital. Geographic disparities in women choosing out-of-hospital birth are also apparent, with the greatest prevalence of out-of-hospital births occurring in the Pacific Northwest and the lowest prevalence in the southeastern United States.

Physician Experience With Electronic Health Record Systems

September 18, 2013

A new report from NCHS looks at Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems that meet the meaningful use criteria have specific capabilities associated with efficient and high-quality patient care.  The criteria is set by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Key Findings from the Report:

  • About three-quarters of physicians with electronic health record systems have systems that meet meaningful use criteria.
  • Physicians with EHR systems that meet meaningful use criteria were more likely to report that their system provides time savings than physicians with systems not meeting meaningful use criteria, but only in some areas.
  • Physicians with EHR systems that meet meaningful use criteria were more likely to report enhanced confidentiality and less disruption in their interactions with patients than physicians with systems not meeting meaningful use criteria.
  • Physicians with EHR systems that meet meaningful use criteria were no more likely to report financial benefits and selected clinical benefits than those with systems not meeting meaningful use criteria.

Electronic Health Record Usage in Residential Care Communities

September 10, 2013

A new report released by NCHS looks at how effective electronic health records are in residential care communities, such as assisted living facilities and similar residential care communities.  Although research has been done in other health care settings, little has been focused on residential care communities’ use of electronic health records and their support for electronic exchange of residential health information.  The report provides baseline findings using data from the 2010 National Survey of Residential Care Facilities.

Key Findings from the Report: 

  • In 2010, only 17% of residential care communities in the United States used electronic health records.
  • Residential care communities that used electronic health records were more likely to be larger, not-for-profit, chain-affiliated, colocated with another care setting, and in a nonmetropolitan statistical area.
  • The types of information most commonly tracked electronically by residential care communities that used electronic health records were medical provider information, resident demographics, individual service plans, and lists of residents’ medications and active medication allergies.
  • Four in 10 residential care communities that used electronic health records also had support for electronic exchange of health information with service providers; nearly 25% could exchange with pharmacies, and 17% could exchange with physicians.

Preliminary Birth Data for 2012 Released

September 6, 2013

NCHS released a new report called Births: Preliminary Data for 2012 that looks at births in the United States. U.S. data on births are shown by age, live-birth order, race, and Hispanic origin of mother. Data on marital status, cesarean delivery, preterm births, and low birthweight are also presented. Key Findings from the Report:

  • The preliminary number of births for the United States in 2012 was 3,952,937, essentially unchanged (not statistically significant) from 2011; the general fertility rate was 63.0 births per 1,000 women age 15-44 years, down only slightly from 2011, after declining nearly 3 percent a year from 2007 through 2010.
  • The number of births and fertility rate either declined or were unchanged for most race and Hispanic origin groups from 2011 to 2012; however, both the number of births and the fertility rate for Asian or Pacific Islander women rose in 2012 (7 percent and 4 percent, respectively).
  • The birth rate for teenagers 15-19 years was down 6 percent in 2012 (29.4 births per 1,000 teenagers 15-19 years), yet another historic low for the nation, with rates declining for younger and older teenagers and for nearly all race and Hispanic origin groups.
  • The birth rate for women in their early twenties also declined in 2012, to a new record low of 83.1 births per 1,000 women. • Birth rates for women in their thirties rose in 2012, as did the birth rate for women in their early forties. • The birth rate for women in their late forties was unchanged.
  • The nonmarital birth rate declined in 2012 (to 45.3 birth per 1,000 unmarried women aged 15-44), whereas the number of births to unmarried women rose 1 percent and the percentage of births to unmarried women was unchanged (at 40.7 percent). • The cesarean delivery rate for the United States was unchanged in 2012 at 32.8 percent.
  • The preterm birth rate fell for the sixth straight year in 2012 to 11.54 percent.
  • The low birthweight rate also declined in 2012, to 7.99 percent.

September 3, 2013

During 1999–2010, a total of 49,762 deaths from drowning occurred in the United States, an average of 4,147 deaths per year. Summer is particularly a high-risk time of year for drowning, with July being the peak month (8,683 drowning deaths in July during 1999-2010 – an average of nearly 724 drowning deaths every July).

Males are more than three times likely than females to die from drowning; the average annual death rate from drowning for males was 2.2 per 100,000 population, compared to 0.7 for females. The death rate for males was highest among those aged 1–4 years and ≥85 years (both 3.9 per 100,000 population). For females, the highest rates were among those aged 1–4 years (2.2) and <1 year (1.8).

Of the 50 U.S. states, California had the highest number of drowning deaths during 1999-2010 (5,715), followed by Florida (5,098) and Texas (4,015). However, Alaska (4.4 drowning deaths per 100,000 population) had a significantly higher death rate from drowning than any other state, with Hawaii second (2.9), Florida third (2.4) and Louisiana fourth (2.3). The high rate for Louisiana over this period, interestingly, was not influenced by a surge in drowning deaths as a result of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 – as most of those deaths were coded as victims of “cataclysmic storms.”

To view the QuickStat on drowning deaths, click here: