Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Using the Data Portal

About the Data Portal

Answers:

Why can't I query the data for every topic? Why can't I map the data for every topic? | Return to the top

There are a couple reasons why a topic might not have the option to map or query its data. Not all of the topics have data that are available at the county level, so mapping or querying wouldn't be very useful. Other topics have data with counts that are small (that is, not many cases of a disease), so the data are not displayed to protect people's privacy.

Why does it say "data not shown" on some parts of maps and/or queries? | Return to the top

To protect people's privacy, low counts are often suppressed (hidden). When this happens, maps and queries say "data not shown." You can find more information about when data are suppressed by looking at a topic's "About the Data" page, looking at footnotes to tables generated by queries, or looking at "About the Map Data" tab for data maps. 

Why does it say "unstable rate" on some parts of maps and/or queries? | Return to the top

Rates based on low counts should be interpreted with caution. The rate is unstable because with so few cases, the rate can change dramatically with one more or one less case. You can find more information about when data are suppressed by looking at a topic's "About the Data" page, looking at footnotes to tables generated by queries, or looking at "About the Map Data" tab for data maps. 

Can I print a map? | Return to the top

Yes. In the upper-right corner of the map, click Map Tools, choose "Download map," and save the file as a .pdf or .jpg file. You can then open and print that file.

Can I download a table that I generated through a query? | Return to the top

Yes. Click the button labeled "Download data" underneath or above the table, and save the file to your computer

Can I zoom in closer on maps to see data values for towns or neighborhoods? | Return to the top

No. Right now, the data are only available at the county level. We may be adding the ability to zoom in to towns, ZIP codes, or other finer resolutions in the future.

How do I see all data for a certain county? | Return to the top

You cannot currently view all data for a certain county in a single table, but in the future, MN Public Health Data Access will add a County Profile tool that will display all the data, across different topics, for any county in the state.

What is MNPH Data Access? | Return to the top

Minnesota Public Health Data Access (MNPH Data Access) is an online query and information system designed to provide public access to Minnesota data about health, the environment, and other risk factors that may impact public health.

MNPH Data Access may be used to:

  • Help people and communities make healthy choices
  • Protect children, the environment, and future generations
  • Evaluate and measure the effectiveness of public health actions and policy

Ultimately, the goal of MNPH Data Access is to support the Minnesota Department of Health's mission -- to protect, maintain, and improve the health of all Minnesotans.

Who uses MNPH Data Access? | Return to the top

MNPH Data Access may be used by anybody who would like to learn more about health, the environment, and other risk factors associated with disease. Potential users of MNPH Data Access include:

  • Public health and environmental professionals: to provide better access to data to help create more effective programs; inform assessments and planning (for example, see Minnesota Local Public Health Assessment and Planning)
  • Health care professionals: to provide better care by knowing what public health issues most impact their communities
  • Citizens: to have a greater awareness of environmental and public health concerns in their communities, including health disparities
  • Researchers: to help understand the relationship between public health and the environment
  • Policy-makers: to develop and evaluate policies and programs that protect health

See Tracking in Action for examples of how data from MNPH Data Access may be used.

What is being planned for MNPH Data Access in 2013? | Return to the top

In 2013 MDH plans to expand MNPH Data Access to include updated county-level data, new years of data (where data are available), and additional interactive maps (i.e., GIS).

MDH is also working to develop and evaluate new national and state-specific data and measures.  For more information, see the Evaluation Process for Adopting New Content Areas or Contact MNPH Data Access.

What if I cannot find the data I need? | Return to the top

Keep checking back for more topics and data as time goes on. MDH is updating MNPH Data Access on an ongoing basis to include additional data sets and features. If you have an interest in a particular data set or have comments about how we can improve this site, please contact MNPH Data Access.

Some data for Minnesota counties are suppressed or aggregated to protect data privacy. For example, query results for asthma hospitalizations in some Minnesota counties with small populations are not accessible on MNPH Data Access. MDH must follow MN Statutes to protect data privacy, including the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act. MNPH Data Access provides only summary-level data at the state and county level.  For more information about data suppression, listen to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention's (CDC) podcast.

Who updates and maintains MNPH Data Access? How is CDC involved? | Return to the top

MNPH Data Access is updated and maintained by the Minnesota Environmental Public Health Tracking Program through a cooperative agreement with the CDC National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network. Data for this site is collected through collaboration with multiple programs and agencies, and in partnership with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

Where can I find more detailed information about the data? | Return to the top

Detailed information is available on MNPH Data Access web pages titled "About the [Topic] Data" within each topic area. These pages provide important information to accurately interpret and communicate information about:

  • Data sources
  • Data limitations
  • Potential data uses

For examples, go to: About the Asthma Data or About the Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Data.

What is the preferred format for citing data and information obtained from MNPH Data Access? | Return to the top

The following is an example of the preferred format for citations:

Minnesota Department of Health. (2011, July 8). Asthma Hospitalizations: Basic Facts & Figures. Retrieved from https://apps.health.state.mn.us/mndata/asthma_hosp

How can I find out more? | Return to the top

To learn more about MNPH Data Access or provide comments, please contact MNPH Data Access.

 

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