Velir Launches New Dartmouth Atlas Website, Advancing the Public’s Understanding of the US Healthcare System

  • Velir
  • April 22, 2010

Enhanced Dartmouth Atlas Site Enables Users to Dynamically Generate Reports From Over 25 Million Data Points

The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice and Velir (www.velir.com) today launched an innovative new website (www.dartmouthatlas.org) designed, architected, and built by Velir Studios, a full-service Web agency. Dartmouthatlas.org has been rebuilt to provide an easy way for policymakers, the media, health care analysts and the public to find data and reference materials that document variations in cost and intensity of care across the United States.

Since 1996, the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care has been examining patterns of health care delivery and practice, as well as evaluating the quality of health care Americans receive. The research has revealed striking variations in the amount of health care Americans are likely to receive depending on where they live. This is true not only across states and regions, but within individual states and cities.

"We chose Velir Studios to redevelop the Dartmouth Atlas Project website because of the agency’s demonstrated success completing complex web development assignments in the past. Our users needed more interactive tools to optimize their use of the site for information and analysis about national, regional, and local markets. We believe the enhancements Velir has made to the Dartmouth Atlas website will provide increased functionality with much greater ease of use."

— Kristen K. Bronner, Managing Editor of the Dartmouth Atlas Project

“The Dartmouth Atlas Project is a fascinating and complex endeavor, and the new website is a prime example of how data visualization technology can transform unwieldy statistics and other large amounts of data into interactive maps, graphs, charts, and tables that are far easier to read and understand,” said Mark Gregor, President and Founder of Velir Studios. “We value our partnership with the Dartmouth Atlas and look forward to seeing the website’s powerful tools being used to engage and excite the public.”

Velir used its propriety data visualization software, Datacenter, to enable Dartmouthatlas.org users to create custom maps, grids, trend reports, charts and fact sheets on-the-fly, using over 25 million data points about the quality of health care for thousands of regions, hospitals, and zip codes across the country. For Dartmouth Atlas staff members, Datacenter serves as a content management system, allowing them to update and manage data sets and other content without technical assistance.

Because the mapping feature was identified as one of the more critical elements of the Dartmouth Atlas Project website, Velir chose to work with ESRI’s market-leading geographic information system (GIS) technology. Where maps on the previous website were preloaded with a single data indicator, the mapping functionality on the new website enables users to input a multitude of data indicators to create a custom map that showcases health care information and issues at a local, regional and national level.

The website includes a multifaceted mix of features, providing policymakers, the media, health care analysts and others with:

  • Easy access to the Atlas extensive database of health care measures, allowing users to easily create data products including maps (developed with ESRI’s GIS mapping software), charts and tables. Data products are easy for users to download and incorporate into reports, presentations, etc.
  • Search functionality to find, view and conduct comparative analysis of profiles of specific hospitals, primary care service areas, hospital service areas, hospital referral areas and states.
  • Ability to browse through 14 years worth of archived media coverage of the Atlas Project findings.
About The Dartmouth Atlas Project

For more than 20 years, the Dartmouth Atlas Project has documented glaring variations in how medical resources are distributed and used in the United States. The project, principally funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, provides comprehensive information and analysis about national, regional and local markets, as well as individual hospitals and their affiliated physicians. These reports, used by policymakers, the media, health care analysts and others, have radically changed our understanding of the efficiency and effectiveness of our health care system. For more information, visit www.dartmouthatlas.org.