N.Y. Develops New System for Tracking Health Risk


health2.jpgNew Yorkers can find out which commonly preventable illnesses are more likely to occur in their own neighborhood — and whether racial disparity plays a role in prevention — through a new Web site launched this week.

To check your neighborhood, click here.

The state Department of Health created a tool that allows New Yorkers to check whether 12 preventable conditions — like diabetes, asthma and high blood pressure — are predominant in their zip code.

The system will let health officials and local health lobbyists identify gaps in services to specific communities, and target them for the most needed improvements. It’s part of the state Health Department’s larger goal of getting more New Yorkers covered under primary care — instead of waiting until serious illness sets in, requiring expensive long-term treatment.

Despite being among the top three states in per capita health care spending, New York ranks 39th among states for hospital admissions for preventable conditions, according to the health department.

“This doesn’t mean New York’s hospitals are doing a bad job; on the contrary, our hospitals are providing excellent acute care,” said Dr. Richard Daines, the state commissioner of health. “What it means is that too many New Yorkers are not getting effective primary care to prevent, detect and treat conditions before they become serious and require hospitalization.”

The site also allows the public to identify instances of disparity — racial and regional. For example, four Albany zip codes (12202, 12204, 12207 and 12210) have hospitalization rates for diabetes complications that are 57 percent higher than the statewide rate.

Three downtown Brooklyn zip codes (11201,11205 and 11217) have admission rates for uncontrolled diabetes that are more than two-and-a-half times statewide norms, with admission rates for blacks and Hispanics nearly five times the statewide rate, according to the site.

Called a prevention quality indicator, the free, publicly accessible Web site identifies hospitalization rates for angina, congestive heart failure and hypertension. It also checks for diabetes related conditions, like short-term and long-term complications, lower extremity amputation, and uncontrolled diabetes.

The site also checks for local rates of respiratory-related and acute conditions, including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bacterial pneumonia, dehydration and urinary tract infection.

(Source: 1010WINS / AP)