We in the U.S. love our rankings. I think it is embedded in our DNA. As a student of data, I love to see the various rankings and how people get worked up over them. Healthgrades recently released its latest analysis of top quality hospitals and its National Health Index, which listed the 25 healthiest U.S. cities. In the Healthgrades Report to the Nation, it spotlighted Denver as getting health care right. As with any rankings, it comes down to the measures. Healthgrades uses four key indicators in their evaluation.

  • Access to Care

  • Access to Quality Hospitals

  • Population Health

  • Risky Behaviors

Many rankings use a number of measures based on the Behavioral Risk Surveillance System (BRFSS). At Public Insight, we have ingested this data into our platform by state, county (which is fairly dated), and metropolitan statistical area. We also have the CDC 500 (or 500 Cities Project) which uses sampling to weight the criteria against cities. You can browse this data for free in our Data Browser tool. Stay on the lookout for many new things coming your way for community health analysis. 

 

In looking at the health of cities, there is no perfect city. We used the CDC 500 to highlight the best and worst cities by category.  We also used Denver as our comparison city. As noted in the table below, Denver does well in most categories, but clearly drinking is an issue. Apparently our friends in the Mile High City also don’t like to visit the doctor routinely because they fare worse in that area.