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Community Health Data Base
An Information Service of the Philadelphia Health Management Corporation

Since 1972, Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) has served health care and social service providers in Southeastern Pennsylvania by providing management and technical assistance, delivering direct services in the community, evaluating program effectiveness, and collecting and analyzing health and social service data.

In 1983, PHMC recognized that local, population-based data were generally unavailable for health planning, policy and program development, and that this missing information greatly reduced the capacity of local health and social service organizations to plan and design health programs to address the needs of local residents and communities. To fill this gap, PHMC obtained support to create the Community Health Data Base (CHDB).

The central component of the Community Health Data Base is the Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey, which is administered every two years. The CHDB also maintains U.S. Census and vital statistics data.

The Community Health Data Base has become a unique, critical resource for area health and social service agencies. It provides:

  • Local data, not extrapolations based on national or state data

  • Data that are community-based rather than resource-based

  • Data that can be examined by different levels of geography, including census tract, health district, Minor Civil Division, and ZIP code, as well as by county and region

  • Longitudinal data that can be used as a baseline to measure changes in health, social status and access to care over time

During the past decade, the need for population-based data has become ever more urgent and apparent. Data contained within the Community Health Data Base help health care providers understand changes in the environment, such as shifts in population composition, changes in federal welfare entitlements, and the effects of organizational restructuring and financing of health care. The Community Health Data Base serves as an impartial data source for investigating these issues and for monitoring progress toward public health goals, such as Healthy People 2010 and Healthy People 2020 benchmarks.

The CHDB remains a valued and greatly expanded resource with supporting members from across the region who use the data within their hospitals & health systems, county health and human service departments, and non-profit organizations. These organizations depend on the Community Health Data Base for information that helps them plan programs, market services and assess need.