Adding FIPS codes to Vitalnet Output

Introduction - FIPS codes are a standard way for representing counties. FIPS codes are useful for importing into mapping / GIS software. The DSHS Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention Section staff suggested to add FIPS codes to Vitalnet output. I also asked the DSHS Center for Health Statistics for input about adding FIPS codes.

FIPS codes are like the following:

48507 ZAVALA

When FIPS Codes are Displayed

FIPS codes could be shown in the output table if one of the following:

- County rows, and single county for each row
- County columns, and single county for each column

FIPS codes could NOT be shown if one of the following:

- Two counties merged into a "set"
- Not county rows or columns
- A region selected

Note: A COG is a region, a PHR is a region, etc. Only counties (not regions) have FIPS codes.

==> Let us know if any of the above conditions do not sound right.

Display Alternatives - There are three options for displaying the FIPS codes.

Option AC (Append County) - Print "48001 (Anderson)" in one field.

Option AC Mockups - County Rows / County Columns.

Pro - Easier to program, since does not require sub-column or sub-row.

Con - When results are saved to Excel, FIPS code is not in a separate column.

Option RN (Replace Name) Print "48001" in one field.

Option RN Mockups - County Rows / County Columns.

Pro - Compact output, since the FIPS code is relatively short.
Pro - The FIPS code is in a separate field.
Pro - Easier to program, since does not require sub-column or sub-row.

Con - County name is not displayed.
Con - Mapping / GIS software may want the county name.

Option TF (Two Fields) - Print "Anderson", then "48001" in separate field.

Option TF Mockup - County Rows only

Pro - FIPS code would be in a separate field.
Pro - County name would still be displayed, in a separate field.
Pro - DSHS likes this option.

Con - Difficult to program, since requires sub-column.
Con - Programming does not transfer to other contexts.
Con - Does not work with county columns.

==> Let us know any thoughts about Option AC, Option RN, or Option TF.

Summary of Options to be Programmed

Option - Description Separate
Works with
AC - Append County - - Y Easier Y
RN - Replace Name Y - Y Easier Y
TF - Two Fields Y Y - Difficult -

What Was Done

Option AC (Append County) and Option RN (Replace Name) were programmed, since they are useful and feasible. Option TF (Two Fields) was not programmed, despite the attractiveness of having two fields. It is difficult to implement, a one-off so less practical to implement, and confusing because it cannot be applied to columns. I am hoping AC and RN will prove adequate.

VitalPro Menu - The VitalPro Main Menu shows "FIPS in Output", with three possible values:

  - "Yes: Append County Name"
  - "Yes: Replace County Name"
  - "No: County Name Only"

When Menu Options Shown - VitalPro is configured to only show the FIPS option when area rows / columns are selected. For example, if year rows and sex columns, the FIPS menu option would be hidden.

Vitalnet Maps - Vitalnet maps still display the county names, not the FIPS codes. It is possible (with tedious programming) to include the FIPS codes on maps. But the point of using FIPS codes on the map is not yet clear or requested.

==> Let us know if any thoughts about FIPS codes on maps.

Manual Method - Another way to include FIPS codes is as follows:

1) Select "all counties", "area set rows", "rows not sorted".
2) Save VitalPro output in spreadsheet format.
3) Add a column to the spreadsheet output.
4) Autofill the column from 48001 to 48507, increasing each row by two.