Using Public Datasets

Access to reliable, timely, and credible information is consistent with the overarching objective of providing data-driven and evidence-based care. In this sense, healthcare organizations have a responsibility to leverage small and big data from multiple sources to implement informed quality improvement initiatives and address clinical problems. Utilizing information from multiple sources, including reputable government databases, forms the basis of nursing informatics and prudent decisions. According to Cascini et al. (2019), data-driven modalities like health information technologies facilitate data collection, utilization, and analysis to improve healthcare delivery and enhance care decisions. It is essential to note that external evidence sources, such as government websites, provide reliable and credible information that influences care delivery patterns at the organizational level. Therefore, this paper aims to evaluate a dataset regarding a healthcare problem, explain the source of the data, elaborate on the data trends, its value and importance in improving care operations, and changes in policies that can improve care quality and efficiency.

Dataset Evaluation

In 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reviewed and updated data regarding diabetes incidences and prevalence in the United States. The data focused on the incidence of diagnosed diabetes among adults (≥18 years) from 2001-2019. Further, the dataset entailed the trends in the prevalence of diagnosed, undiagnosed, and total diabetes among adults in the United States from 2001-2004 to 2017-2020. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2022), about 11.3% of the US population (37.3 million) had diabetes in 2019. In the same breath, over 8 million adults were unaware of their diabetic status or did not report the presence of diabetes symptoms and signs. The people’s unawareness of their status concerning diabetes is a profound concern for healthcare professionals amidst the overriding determination to promote early detection and management interventions.

The Source of the Data

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a reputable national public health agency under the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The agency’s mission is to safeguard patient safety and public health by controlling and preventing diseases alongside other health threats. The CDC conducts research as part of strategies for achieving the organizational mission and objectives. It provides reliable information regarding non-infectious/chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity. Also, the agency provides datasets regarding the prevalence and incidences rates of these diseases. Finally, the CDC consolidates and avails evidence-based recommendations and guidelines for screening, preventing, treating, managing, and controlling infectious and non-infectious diseases. As a result, it is valid to argue that the dataset for diabetes prevalence and incidences in the United States emanates from a credible, reputable, and authoritative government website.

The Value of the Dataset and its Importance in Improving Healthcare Operations

Diabetes is a significant global and national public health concern, considering its adverse ramifications, including increased mortality and morbidity rates, high care costs, compromised quality of life, adverse complications, and massive economic burdens on patients, families, and healthcare systems. According to Xu et al. (2018), type 1 and 2 diabetes increase the risk of health complications, such as cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and cancer. These comorbidities result in all-cause mortality and a substantial economic burden on patients, families, and healthcare organizations. While diabetes poses a significant public health concern, information regarding the evidence-based guidelines for its prevention, treatment, and management is profound in promoting public health and averting the potential consequences of the disease.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) dataset provides a comprehensive interpretation of chronological data about diabetes prevalence and incidences in the United States over the last two decades. Also, the CDC elaborates on the risk factors for type 1 and 2 diabetes, alongside the geographic distribution of diagnosed diabetes in adults (18 to 79 years), by state or US territory in 2018. It is essential to note that such information is valuable to healthcare organizations and care professionals responsible for screening, preventing, treating, and managing diabetes. For instance, information regarding the disease’s prevalence, incidences, and risk factors can allow healthcare institutions and professionals to prioritize preventive approaches consistent with population needs and goals. Further, information from the CDC regarding diabetes can inform health promotion programs and allow organizations to embrace evidence-based strategies for reducing the disease’s prevalence and addressing complications.

The availability of credible and reliable information about healthcare issues like disease prevalence is a profound aspect of bolstering care quality and improving decisions. According to McGonigle & Mastrian (2018), the primary reason for collecting and building data, information, and knowledge is to improve decisions and inform practices. In this sense, information and data facilitate wisdom and the insight to make sound decisions in practical matters.

Trends in the Dataset

According to the dataset by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on diabetes prevalence and incidences among adults in the United States, the disease’s prevalence is ever-increasing. On the other hand, the trend of diagnosed diabetes among adults reduced from about 7.5 per 1,000 in 2001 to about 5.8 per 1,000 people in 2019. Regarding the geographic distribution of diagnosed diabetes across states and US territories in 2018, the dataset indicates disparities among states, signifying variations in diabetes management interventions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2022) associates the increase in diabetes prevalence with improving self-management practices, lifestyle modification, and access to timely healthcare services. However, the disease is disproportionate to ethnic minority groups, such as African Americans and people with poor social determinants of health (SDOH), including low income, low-level education attainment, and the prevalence of risk behaviors like physical inactivity, alcoholism, and cigarette smoking. As a result, it is vital to emphasize physical activity, obesity management strategies, and community education to promote preventive behaviors and educate people about the essence of early diabetes screening and diagnosis.

Changes in Operations or Policies to Improve Care Quality and Efficiency.

Although type 1 and 2 diabetes are among the leading causes of high mortality and morbidity rates globally and nationally, it is possible to reduce their prevalence, incidences, and ramifications. In this healthcare, organizations and policymakers should emphasize interventions for addressing the risk factors for the disease to promote early detection and management. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2022) contends that the significant risk factors for diabetes are modifiable issues like physical inactivity, unhealthy diet plans, alcoholism, and obesity. Therefore, a contingency plan for preventing, treating, and managing diabetes should include various approaches, including early screening, community-based education programs, providing opportunities for physical activities, and discouraging the availability of unhealthy food choices.

Early Screening

Early diabetes detection is a prerequisite for effective treatment and management of the disease because it entails identifying early signs and individual susceptibility to diabetes. According to Timpel et al. (2019), governments should screen high-risk groups, including people with increased BMI, pregnant women, and young families. Government agencies should collaborate with healthcare organizations to spearhead free, early screening programs to facilitate timely detection and lifestyle changes. The practical strategy for reaching out to at-risk populations to champion early diabetes screening is multimedia communication approaches to increase the widespread awareness of risk factors for diabetes.

Physical Activeness

Physical activity is a profound strategy for addressing the risk factors of diabetes and preventing subsequent complications. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2021), physical activity enables people to control blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of heart disease and nerve damage. Besides these benefits, physical exercise leads to other additional benefits, including weight management, improved cognition, stress management, and lowering LDL cholesterol.

Community-Based Education

Educating people about healthy diet plans, lifestyle modification strategies, and self-care interventions is vital for addressing diabetes and averting its consequences. Kumar et al. (2021) argue that educational sessions should focus on diabetes-related topics, such as relaxation and fatigue symptom management, stress management, the rationale for healthy eating and exercise, and medication adherence. It is essential to note that educational programs that combine didactic, collaborative, and interactive teaching methods can improve knowledge acquisition and enhance people’s awareness of diabetes.

Improving Access to Healthy Food Choices

Various at-risk populations, including children and older adults, have limited access to healthy foods due to the interplay between social determinants of health (SDOH) such as poverty and low-income families. As a result, governments should step up efforts to implement food benefit programs to incentivize the purchase of fruits and vegetables (Timpel et al., 2019). Further, it is crucial to restrict the advertisement of unhealthy foods and implement fat/sugar taxes to reduce the availability of unhealthy foods to children and adolescents. These strategies can prevent obesity and overweight, reducing incidences of adulthood diabetes.

Conclusion

Healthcare organizations utilize information from reputable and authoritative government websites to improve care delivery and enhance decisions. For example, a dataset for diabetes in the United States by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides data regarding the disease’s prevalence, incidences, and risk factors. Data from reliable sources influence policies and interventions for screening, preventing, treating, managing, and controlling diabetes. Amidst the ever-increasing diabetes prevalence among adults in the United States, the government should emphasize four fundamental aspects: physical activity, community-based education programs, early screening, and improving access to healthy foods.

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