Austin/ Health & Lifestyle
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Published on June 18, 2024
Texas Health Department Launches Data Dashboards to Cast Light on Maternal and Infant HealthSource: Unsplash / Alexander Grey

In a move to increase transparency and provide easy access to health statistics, Texas' Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has thrust open the digital doors to two elaborate data dashboards that shine light on maternal and infant health. Released on Monday, these tools fold into the larger fold of Texas Health Data online suite, offering key insights into the haunting figures of maternal mortality and the fragile beginnings of infant life, per reporting by KXAN.

The dashboards will not merely sit as static pieces of information; they are engineered to paint a fuller portrait of the health landscape, illustrating pregnancy risk factors such as mental health disturbances, hypertension, and smoking, while the infant health segment delves into mortality causes and the enigma of preterm births, DSHS announced. A slated expansion is on the horizon to encompass further strata of data, such as infant health practices, dimensions of prenatal care, and the stark realities of severe maternal morbidity.

Spearheading this unveiling, DSHS Commissioner Jennifer Shuford underscored the motive behind the introduction of such dynamic resources, stating, "Our goal is to allow researchers, policymakers, and the public to join us in using this data to improve health in Texas," a sentiment echoed in KXAN. This move comes on the heels of a lamented delay in 2022, where the anticipated report on the 2019 maternal mortality data in Texas missed its release date by several months, kindling some legislative fire to overhaul the systemic delays—though efforts like House Bill 663 tragically fizzled in committee, as reported by KXAN.

These leaps towards illuminating public health issues are not isolated; the DSHS has initiated similar expeditions into the dark caverns of public health crises, previously launching dashboards highlighting disturbing trends in fentanyl usage and the oscillations of seasonal respiratory viruses. Information is taken directly from DSHS' news alerts. In their continuous streak of blending data science with health awareness, the agency has its sights trained on spotlighting the American syphilis surge, promising another bash at big data for the betterment of public health comprehension—a narrative unspooling in real-time, grim statistics et al.