By Giselle Plata, MPH, Program Associate Specialist, NACCHO, and Peggy A. Honoré, DHA, Director Public Health System, Finance, and Quality Program, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, Department of Health and Human Services
The Public Health Uniform National Data System (PHUND$), hosted by NACCHO, is a Web-based portal for the collection of financial and demographic data from local health departments (LHDs).
How does it work? LHDs enter financial and demographic data and PHUND$ generates feedback on financial and operational conditions through ratio and trend analysis, dashboards, benchmarking against peer agencies, and analysis of program financial performance. PHUND$ not only provides LHDs with timely, reliable, and uniform data to support assessment and decision-making, but also helps NACCHO describe to stakeholders the financial health and sustainability of the public health system. That being said, the value of PHUND$ increases exponentially as more agencies report data into the system.
Here are five ways LHDs can make the most of PHUND$:
- Prepare for accreditation. PHUND$ ratios, provided by the system’s Ratio Trends Analysis tool, are applicable as standards to measure LHD performance and quality in the accreditation process. This is relevant to the Public Health Accreditation Board’s Standards and Measures, specifically Domain 9, Standard 9.1: “Use a Performance Management System to Monitor Achievement of Organizational Objectives.”
- Determine trends in your agency. PHUND$ helps you evaluate your LHD’s revenues and expenditures and forecast possible declines in revenues.
- Identify what expenses to rein in. PHUND$ reports enable LHDs to identify what specific areas may be draining agency resources.
- Identify demographic and economic indicators. PHUND$ helps shed light on factors that could impact your agency’s financial status. The recent economic downturn provided indicators, such as the housing collapse and the local and state government reduced sales tax revenues, which affected LHD funding.
- Make a case for additional funding. PHUND$ data can help LHDs advocate effectively at the local, state, and federal levels for increased public health funding. Quantitative analysis puts the problem in compelling business terms that those outside public health understand.
Visit PHUND$ today at http://phunds.naccho.org to sign up for an account to enter your agency data and start using the analytical tools today. Has your LHD used PHUND$?