The CDC Under Magnification: Part Two


Wouldn’t you know, watching the very smart movie Contagion last night would get me psyched to write this second installment on the CDC?  This part deals with the National Center for Health Statistics, a CDC subset that works to, “compile statistical information to guide actions and policies to improve the health of our people. …Working with partners throughout the health community, we use a variety of approaches to efficiently obtain information from the sources most able to provide information” (About). For someone trying to do business research through the NCHS website for the first time, be forewarned that these pages, understandably dense with information, have a nearly overwhelming barrage of links, terminology, and acronyms-that-all-sound-the-same.  My advice is to acclimate to the site’s organization by starting at the beginning:  use the left-side navigation menu to peruse the NCHS’s various Surveys and Data Collection Systems’s sub-pages on an individual basis to see which one might offer information that’s relevant to your research.  If a particular survey sounds promising, then also stick to that left-menu’s Survey Results & Products link, or any comparable link, when they're available.

In this manner, I managed to drill down to a site that breaks the National Hospital Discharge Survey, one of the  more exhaustive surveys, into spreadsheets of information based on popular aggregating factors.  (Alas, I don't know if this url and my last link are persistent).  For example, I downloaded a chart that gives me totals for “all listed procedures” from hospitals by category and age, meaning I see things like the number of appendectomies performed in the 15-44 age group.  This type of information is great for those trying to compile a numerical justification for their newfangled product or pill.