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How to Use Data Effectively

When used effectively, data on children's health can be a powerful tool to educate stakeholders, inform decision makers, and motivate and track improvement of children’s health care delivery. Accomplishing these goals requires strategic communication of data results. The information and examples below will help users identify successful strategies for sharing findings and using data effectively from the National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH), National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs (NS-CSHCN), Survey of Pathways to Diagnosis and Services, National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) Complementary and Alternative Medicine Supplement, and NHIS-Child.

For examples of how others have used this data, please also see the following pages:

Communication of Data Results

Making National Survey Data Come Alive. Communication of data is essential to engaging all audiences. For many stakeholders, data can be overwhelming and can lead to a lack of engagement or tuning out. To make data come alive, communicate data to your audience by grounding data in real life, easy to understand examples and scenarios.

Using Data to Increase the Impact of Communications. A communications expert shares five rules for selecting and using data facts to develop a powerful message for your targeted audience. 

How to Translate Percentages into Numbers of Children.  Reporting the estimated number of children with a specific characteristic is often an effective communication tool. This worksheet guides data users through the process of converting percentages into the numbers of children that are represented.

Putting Your Data Findings into Words. How does caring for a child with special health needs affect the work life of family members? A “Telling the Story” example from a family leadership conference in Washington State.

Tools for Effective Data Use

Understanding Research: Top Ten Tips for Advocates and Policymakers. How can you tell if a research study is one you can trust? This checklist helps family and state leaders to critically evaluate research – and use it effectively to inform policy decisions. 

Using Data to Build Partnerships for Improving Children's Health and Health Care. Three exercises help walk users through the steps of using data to inform, motivate, and engage stakeholders in improving services, policies, or programs for children, youth and families. 

NSCH and NS-CSHCN Measures Pertaining to Healthy People 2020 Objectives 
This six page document outlines which survey measures on the DRC pertain to the US Department of Health & Human Services' Healthy People 2020 Goals, including which goals use either of the national surveys as their official data source. For more information, see our Interactive Healthy People 2020 Data Portal. 

Resources Pertaining to Title V Needs Assessment
Learn how the DRC can help Title V Needs Assessment processes such as assessing needs, examining capacity, selecting priorities, setting targets, identifying activities and monitoring progress.  This document also contains information about state priorities relating to Title V Needs Assessment and relevant data on the DRC website, NSCH and NS-CSHCN.  

Local Uses of State Data and How to Construct a Synthetic Estimate. An overview of ways state-level data can be applied at the local level and step-by-step guide on how to estimate county-level prevalence using state-level data and county-level demographical information.

Quality Improvement Partnerships
Learn how the DRC can help with quality improvement processes such as understanding your population, assessing system performance, examining improvement opportunities, selecting priorities, setting targets, identifying promising improvement models and monitoring progress. View your state's data snapshot on 2007 NSCH Child Health and System Performance

Using Child Health Data for Public Health Accreditation. This brief outlines how data from the Data Resource Center (DRC) can be used to meet Public Health Accreditation Board standards.