Top Reports: Tracking New Jersey’s Progress on Population Health

Lilo H. Stainton | December 27, 2018 | Health Care, Winter 2018
The Department of Health issued a voluminous but easy-to-digest report that evaluates New Jersey’s performance on more than 100 health indicators

top report 2018
In this series, we’re highlighting important reports of relevance to the state’s problems and future for you to read while we at NJ Spotlight are on our annual winter break.

New Jersey has been doing well in reducing cancer deaths in recent years, except for among Latinas diagnosed with breast cancer. The healthcare system here is underperforming too when it comes to diabetes screenings, HIV tests and efforts to address suicide attempts. But we are meeting or exceeding the goals for childhood immunizations and testing homes for the presence of radon.

Those are just a fraction of the findings available in the New Jersey State Health Assessment 2018, published in August by the Department of Health; it’s based on health and demographic data, a series of formal stakeholder meetings, and extensive review and analysis by population health experts. The 116-page report features color-coded maps and other graphics along with detailed but easy-to-digest policy background and resource lists.

“Keeping healthy New Jerseyans well, preventing those at risk from getting sick, and keeping those with chronic conditions from getting sicker” are the goals of population health, as described in an introductory letter to the report by Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal. “Population health promotes prevention, wellness, and equity in all environments, resulting in a healthy New Jersey,” he wrote.

The document reviews the state’s public health status, the related programs and policies involved, with an evaluation of more than 100 specific health indicators organized in 20 subject areas. These include access to healthcare, environmental health, healthcare-associated infections, public health preparedness, injury and violence prevention, nutrition and fitness, tobacco use, and a host of diseases, ranging from asthma to sexually transmitted diseases. The publication tracks the state’s progress over time and provides national averages for comparison.

“We will use the SHA as a roadmap for defining next steps and organizing to improve specific priority health outcomes,” Elnahal wrote.

Elnahal thanked all those who contributed to the document, including the Healthy New Jersey Workgroup, which played a large role in reviewing the findings, and he urged them all to keep monitoring population health in New Jersey. “We hope you will use this report as a foundation for the development of population health improvement initiatives and activities statewide,” he said.

Follow this link for the report on New Jersey’s comprehensive health data.

Follow this link for more Top Reports: Winter 2018.