FAQs - exploreMOhealth


Is the exploreMOhealth platform available at no cost?

Yes, the platform was developed with funding from the MHA Health Institute and Missouri Foundation for Health to assist communities, hospitals, public health officials, and other community health stakeholders in identifying health needs and developing actionable community health needs assessments using ZIP code and county-level data.

Is exploreMOhealth available to anyone, or do I need special permissions and/or an account to view the data?

The platform is designed to be a public resource and is available to anyone with an interest in community health. Setting up an optional account allows users to customize their experience by saving geographic areas, health indicators, customized reports, and other features of exploreMOhealth in which they are most interested.

Visit the Registration page to create an account.

How can I understand how my community compares to other communities in the state?

exploreMOhealth offers several options for comparative analysis. First, state-level results are displayed alongside ZIP- and county-level data. Second, ZIP codes are ranked for each domain and subdomain using a unique methodology that was developed with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and County Health Rankings & Roadmaps.

What are the health domains and subdomains included in exploreMOhealth?

The exploreMOhealth platform is based on the population health model used by County Health Rankings & Roadmaps. The model is comprised of two overarching domains: Health Factors and Health Outcomes. Health Factors are influenced by local policies and programs, and subdomains include Health Behaviors, Clinical Care, Social and Economic Factors, and the Physical Environment. Health Outcomes are influenced by Health Factors, and subdomains include Length of Life and Quality of Life.

What are the data sources for exploreMOhealth?

The platform features demographic data from the U.S. Census and three health-related data sources that are specific to Missouri. The two sets of county-level health indicators are provided by County Health Rankings & Roadmaps and the Missouri Foundation for Health’s County-Level Study. The ZIP-level data are provided by the Hospital Industry Data Institute, the data company of the Missouri Hospital Association and Washington University School of Medicine through the Missouri ZIP Health Rankings Project. More information on the data is available here.

Which date ranges are reflected in the data on exploreMOhealth?

The ZIP code-level data included in the most recent version of the site are based on hospital discharges occurring between fiscal years 2019 and 2021 (October 1, 2018 through September 30, 2021), and the 2020 American Community Survey of the U.S. Census. Previous versions of the ZIP Health Rankings data are also available in the Map Room, or for download on the About page. The latest County-Level Study data from the Missouri Foundation for Health were generated via telephonic interviews of Missouri adults during 2016. The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps data are gathered from multiple sources with varied time frames. More information on County Health Rankings dates and sources is available here.

Can I download a file that I can use with GIS mapping software?

Yes, exploreMOhealth has options to export reports directly to Excel for use in GIS applications, you can also download the entire public-use data file on the About page.

Is the data available by school district, legislative district, or other geographic unit?

The data are available on exploreMOhealth at the county- and ZIP-code levels, however you can identify counties and ZIP codes included within larger geographic areas such as state Senate Districts to compare variation within these areas.

Will I be able to access the platform and data without having to provide personal information?

Yes, the platform is designed to be a public resource, and available to anyone with an interest in community health. Setting up an optional account allows users to customize their experience by saving geographic areas, health indicators, customized reports, and other features that they are most interested in.

How do I contact someone with a question and/or if I have a problem with the site?

Questions on the platform can be submitted at any time to exploreMOhealth@mhanet.com.

Will I be able to see clear labeling, definitions, and data set descriptors regarding limitations/challenges (i.e., collection, monitoring, etc.)?

Yes, the reports generated by exploreMOhealth feature detailed descriptions of the data they contain. Information on the limitations of the ZIP-code data may be found on pages 7-8 of Nagasako, et al. (2017). County-Level Study respondents were non-institutionalized adults, thereby excluding those residing in nursing homes, mental institutions, and correctional facilities from the study. Data are self-reported and thereby subject to recall bias. Additionally, adults living in residences without a landline telephone that do not use a cellphone or that do not speak English are not represented in the study. Additional information on the reliability and statistical uncertainty of the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps data is available on the CHR&R Data Quality page.

Will I be able to save my defined service area?

Yes, setting up an exploreMOhealth account allows users to customize their experiences by saving geographic areas, health indicators, customized reports and other features of exploreMOhealth of which they have the most interest.

Why was the County-Level Study (CLS) conducted?

The need was identified for county-specific prevalence of tobacco use and related chronic disease risk factors, conditions, and preventive practices to assist areas in determining health priorities and evaluating programmatic efforts.

How and when were 2016 County-Level Study data collected?

CLS data were collected through random-digit-dialed landline telephone interviews and random manually dialed cell telephone interviews conducted by trained interviewers at the University of Missouri-Columbia Health and Behavioral Risk Research Center. Data were collected January through December 2016.

What kinds of questions were on the 2016 County-Level Study?

The CLS included 117 questions on a variety of health-related topics. See Data Elements for a copy of the questionnaire.

The CLS also contained socio-demographic questions (e.g., sex, age, race/ethnicity, marital status, employment status, county of residence, number of children in the household under 18 years of age, etc.).

Who participated in the 2016 County-Level Study?

50,140 Missouri residents (18 years of age or older) responded to the study.
Anyone with at least one residential telephone number (unlisted as well as listed) in the state had a theoretical possibility of being called.
Landline telephone numbers were randomly generated from a list of all residential prefixes in the state.

Only one adult member of each household was eligible to be included in the survey. When a residence was reached, the interviewer asked the number of adult males and females in the household and the computer randomly selected which adult was the eligible respondent. This ensured that adults of all ages and both sexes were interviewed rather than the first person that answered the telephone.

For interviews with cell telephone-only users, anyone with a cell telephone number not used primarily by children under age 18 or for business purposes was eligible to be called for participation.

Calls were made during days, evenings, and weekends (up to three attempts over five different calling periods) so that all adults had an equal chance of being selected to participate.

Who paid for the County-Level Study? Were state dollars used?

Missouri Foundation for Health paid for the entire study. No state funds were used.

How can I obtain the complete County-Level Study results?

Study results are available on the DHSS Community Profiles web site. Researchers wishing to obtain the complete data set should contact the MFH CLS coordinator at (314) 345-5565 or jwagner@mffh.org.

How will the information gathered by the County-Level Study be used?

It is expected that local health departments, organizations, and coalitions will utilize the data for determining priority health needs and planning interventions to address priority needs. If the study is replicated in the next few years, data could be used as part of an evaluation of programmatic efforts.

Why were sample sizes of 400 for smaller counties, 800 for larger counties, and 1,600 for urban centers used for the County-Level Study?

The sample sizes were selected to obtain a relative standard error for the majority of county-level health indicators below 20 percent. A 1,600-sample size was used in Jackson and St. Louis counties and the City of St. Louis to better support more complex analysis methods seeking to estimate ZIP-code level prevalence and allow stratification of the data by race. An 800-sample size was used in Boone, Cole, Buchanan, Jasper, Greene, Jefferson, and St. Charles counties to allow more advanced estimates given the large population centers in each county relative to their surrounding rural communities.

Why aren’t demographic breakdowns (age, race, income, education, health insurance status) provided in the County-Level Study?

A sample size of 400 respondents in most counties does not provide a sufficient number of responses to stratify by demographics at the county level.

Why and how are County-Level Study data weighted?

Weighting allows results to be generalized to the adult population at the state, region, and county levels. Data were weighted to adjust for the unequal probability of selection, differential nonresponse, and possible deficiencies in the sampling frame. For more details on the weighting methodology, go to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) Fact Sheet.

What rates are reported on exploreMOhealth?

The ZIP code-level rates are based on the number of hospital inpatient, outpatient and emergency department diagnoses per 1,000 residents between fiscal years 2019 and 2021. County-level rates or prevalence are based on the number of respondents reporting affirmatively for each question. More information on rates reported by County Health Rankings & Roadmaps is available here.

What is a Z-Score, and how should I interpret this information?

A Z-score is a standardized measure of the number of standard deviations each rate lies from the mean. Positive values indicate a higher than average rate for the ZIP code, while negative values indicate a lower than average rate.

How are the ZIP codes and names determined and how are they assigned to my selected counties?

The ZIP codes used on exploreMOhealth are based on ZIP Code Tabulation Areas, the U.S. Census Bureau’s geographic approximations of U.S. Postal Service ZIP codes.

The name used by the U.S. postal service for each ZIP code is provided for spatial context. In many cases, a ZIP code may encompass additional unnamed communities, however the name of the ZIP code is typically attributed to the largest, and/or most centrally located community within the ZIP code.

ZIP code boundaries overlap county boundaries. By selecting a county or counties, this report includes any ZIP code with at least 10 percent of its population residing within one of the selected counties.

What browser and platform should I use with exploreMOhealth?

We support the latest two stable versions of Firefox, Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer. The content, formatting and functionality of the site has been optimized for desktop, tablet and mobile devices.