AbstractIntroduction: The determination of priorities is an essential component of community health status assessment. Yet, there is an acknowledged need for a systematic method which will utilize data in standardized comparisons to yield priorities based on objective analyses. Method: We have deployed a web-based system with: a flexible online analytic processing (OLAP) interface; multiple sources of event-level data conformed to common definitions in a data warehouse structure; and, centralized technical infrastructure with distributed analytical capabilities. The PRIORITIZATION TOOL integrated into the system takes full advantage of the granularity of multidimensional sources of data to: apply a series of defined objective criteria; vary the weight of those criteria and detect the reordering of the rankings in real-time; and, apply the prioritization algorithm to different categories of health status outcomes. Results: In our example, mortality outcomes for Miami-Dade County, Florida, were considered with three different weighting combinations of the four primary ranking criteria. The resultant analyses return markedly different mortality priority rankings based upon the selection and weighting of the criteria. Conclusion: Rankings of community health outcomes based on a static set of criteria with fixed weighting factors may not provide sufficient information necessary for priority setting and may, in fact, be misleading.
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