Vitalnet FAQ / Details

⇒ What is Vitalnet? A customized data analysis software.

Vitalnet is a software framework for analyzing large complex health data sets. It runs directly on the desktop (VitalPro) or over the internet (VitalWeb®). Vitalnet fulfills the role of many different kinds of software to benefit you and your organization, including: community assessment, data access, data dissemination, data linkage, data mining, desktop data analysis, enterprise data warehouse, decision support, ICD database, web-based data query system, and virtual data center. It does a lot!

⇒ Is Vitalnet interoperable with other systems? Yes.

Vitalnet interoperates by inputting data files from other systems, and outputting results to other systems. Vitalnet uses open (non-proprietary) file formats. Since Vitalnet uses standard output formats, it will work smoothly with any other standards-compliant software.

On the input side, we can import any set of structured ASCII data files - flat files, CSV files, or TSV files. On the output side, Vitalnet produces HTML files, TEXT files, PNG charts, PNG maps, SVG maps, PDF maps, GIS maps, TSV data files, CSV data files, and DBASE III data files. It is a lot of file formats. Each format has special advantages and uses.

⇒ What data can Vitalnet include? Virtually any structured data.

Vitalnet systems currently include the following commonly analyzed data sets: birth, BRFSS, cancer registry, divorce, hospital discharge, abortions (ITOP), infectious disease, marriage, multiple cause mortality, population, pregnancy outcome, and underlying cause mortality. Each version also includes population data, geographic data, and other data (ICD, CPT, DRG, etc.) as needed.

Vitalnet can handle any complex record-level data set, including: Benefits enrollment, birth defects, census, COVID-19, emergency room, food stamps, HIV / AIDS, health manpower, immunizations, infant death, lead screening, linked birth / death, Medicaid, Medicare, newborn screening, outpatient care, poverty, PRAMS, reportable diseases, TANF, trauma registry, unemployment, YRBS, WIC.

⇒ Finest granularity age groupings to use? Whatever you specify.

Typically, the finest granularity is set to one-year groups to age 21, then five-year groups, and then final 75+ group. However, you can set the finest granularity to whatever you want. For example, the highest group could be 85+ (assuming population data is available for 75-79 and 80-84 age groups). We will work with you to resolve any questions related to age groupings, to ensure that the analyses are epidemiologically correct.

⇒ How do data get imported? We do it, no extra cost.

The process works as follows: * We comply with any required data use agreements. * We maintain full confidentiality for the data. * You send us data files and accompanying documentation. * We carry out the data importing. * Typically takes us a few days to import new data. * We keep you fully informed of how it goes. * We work with you to resolve any data problems that may be found.

The data importing process benefits you and your users: * Allows users to have access to the data much sooner. * Ensures data are correctly imported. * Finds errors in the data. * Lowers costs of otherwise very expensive process. * Keeps you in control of decisions, timelines and standards. * Allows us to create updated install files for your data warehouse.

⇒ Does EHDP provide birth or death certificates? No.

Contact your state health agency or other governmental body.

⇒ Does EHDP sell data? No.

We are in the data analysis software business. We do not buy or sell data. You own and maintain full control of your data. We load into Vitalnet whatever data you need to analyze. We provide full confidentiality for whatever data you provide. We put top priority on data protection.

⇒ What does Vitalnet look like? It's clean and efficient.

Vitalnet runs directly on the desktop (VitalPro) and in a browser over the internet (VitalWeb). In either case, operations are totally menu-driven. Users never need to write scripts or enter data by hand. Interfaces are designed to be self-explanatory, to make the next step obvious. Menus are formatted for ease of use, to let users rapidly and efficiently analyze your data.

⇒ Are Vitalnet web interfaces responsive and mobile-friendly? Yes.

Through special programming and testing, Vitalnet web interfaces (VitalWeb) are engineered to display and work correctly, on every device: desktop PC, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. The interfaces automatically rearrange themselves to adapt to whatever screen size is used. This is called "responsive". On smartphones, the smallest devices, the VitalWeb interfaces are still easy to use and function well. This is called "mobile-friendly". Being fully responsive and mobile-friendly is a major advantage of Vitalnet. More information on this topic

⇒ Will Vitalnet be customized for my needs? Yes, fully.

• Customized for areas and regions in your jurisdiction.
• Age groups you use (eg, 0-21, 22-24, 25-29, ... 75+).
• Race groups (eg, White, Black, Hispanic, Other).
• You decide which variables and field values to use.
• Local details / advice are included in user help.
• Other feasible customizations added, no extra cost.

⇒ Does Vitalnet meet NEDSS requirements? Yes (separate page).

⇒ Does Vitalnet meet disability requirements? Yes (separate page).

⇒ Does Vitalnet do cell suppression? Yes.

Vitalnet does numerator-based cell suppression. If desired, you may specify a minimum suppression level, such as 5 events. The user can modify the cell suppression level, up to an optional minimum specified by you, such as 5 events. If needed, we can configure the program to use alternative suppression method algorithms (denominator-based, combination of numerator and denominator) that you specify. Vitalnet automatically suppresses row and column totals to prevent suppressed cells from being uncovered.

⇒ Does Vitalnet make charts? Yes.

Vitalnet makes beautiful pie, bar, and line charts. The charts are in PNG format. Each chart can be easily customized in many different ways. And Vitalnet is specially engineered to prevent users from making "garbage output", for example a pie chart with 100 slices. More information on Vitalnet output

⇒ Does Vitalnet make table series? Yes.

Vitalnet can make a whole series of tables. You may think of this as the "by variable" or "multi-table variable". For example, Vitalnet can automatically make a separate table for each county! This makes the analytic process much faster, simpler, and more reliable for users.

⇒ Does Vitalnet do leading causes of death? Yes.

Vitalnet uses NCHS rankable cause lists. The top 10 causes from a list are the leading causes of death. Vitalnet allows users to quickly and easily select any NCHS list. Next, the user can easily request sorted rows. In less than a minute, the user has generated the leading cause report, and can easily analyze the leading causes by age, race, sex, etc.

⇒ Calculates age-adjusted rate for 20-64? No.

Vitalnet can produce the age-specific rate for age 20-64. It is theoretically possible to program the capability to age-adjust within age groups, but this has not yet been done. In any case, Vitalnet can quickly produce the age-specific rates and population numbers needed to set up a spreadsheet to do the calculations.

⇒ Is Vitalnet output mobile-friendly? Yes.

Vitalnet output is specially formatted to look nice and display correctly, on every device: desktop PC, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Note that wide tables (many columns) will still require the user to horizontally scroll the table when viewed on a smartphone, there is no way around this, the table is wide! Of course, it is easier to view output tables and maps on a large monitor, but Vitalnet makes the smartphone viewing experience as good as possible. More information

⇒ How do I print Vitalnet output? There are several ways.

Regardless of which Vitalnet platform, Vitalnet output (maps, charts, and tables) normally goes to your desktop browser. Once the output is displayed in the browser, you directly print from the browser (eg, CTL-P). Alternatively, you may save Vitalnet output in a data file format (eg, CSV, TSV, dBASE III). In that case, you would print from some other program. For example, you could import a CSV file into Excel, and then print from within Excel.

⇒ How many ICD codes are included? It depends on the system.

VitalPro (desktop) includes the entire ICD system, and will work with data coded to ICD-9 or ICD-10. VitalWeb Ajax (web-based) also includes the entire ICD system. Furthermore, you may combine selected codes into new "sets", for example compare [A and B] with [X and Y]. Other VitalWeb platforms allow selection from a menu with the most common categories and groupings, sufficient for most purposes, but not as powerful.

⇒ Can Vitalnet analyze national data? Yes, very well.

Vitalnet can import and analyze data from any geographical jurisdiction. We have successfully imported and analyzed US national mortality data. You can see online analyses of US national BRFSS data. Even with large record-level data sets, Vitalnet still produces fast results, typically in a second or two, even for millions of records.

⇒ Can Vitalnet work in Spanish? Yes.

Vitalnet has been "internationalized", and can be "localized" to any language. "Internationalized" means we have done the programming to allow localization. "Localized" means that translations have been carried out for a specific language (locale). Google Translate produces many wrong translations, especially with technical words. We can create a Vitalnet version in another language that works perfectly. Spanish and Chinese Vitalnet versions have been successfully built.

⇒ Can Vitalnet analyze zip code data? Yes.

Vitalnet can import and analyze data from any geographical jurisdiction, including sub-county data. We have successfully imported and analyzed Texas zip code data. Vitalnet will also work with census tract data, logically equivalent to zip code level data. Please keep in mind that getting accurate population data at the zip code level is probably not feasible.

⇒ Can the user rotate (pivot) table axes? Yes.

After making a table, simply return to the interface and switch the variables for rows and columns. For example, easily switch "race by sex" to "sex by race". To keep the interface simple and minimize clutter, we did not include a separate menu item for this functionality.

⇒ What race groups are used? Whatever you specify.

Any race categories may be used. The smallest race categories depend on the standard way that data are analyzed in your jurisdiction. During analysis, race categories may be combined as needed. For example, you could compare [White + Other] vs [Hispanic] vs [Black].

⇒ Does Vitalnet project future trends? Yes.

Vitalnet trend analyses automatically include a "least-squares" analysis. The analysis produces a Y-intercept and slope, which may be used to draw the best line through the data and project into the future. Confidence intervals for the slope may be included, to decide if there is a significant trend.

⇒ Does Vitalnet make maps? Yes, very well.

Vitalnet makes professionally formatted thematic maps that allow the user to quickly compare geographic areas. The maps are in PNG format. In addition, Vitalnet makes maps in PDF and SVG formats, for super high resolution printing. In addition, Vitalnet automatically makes GIS maps. All the maps can be easily customized in many ways. Finally, Vitalnet can export results to a dBASE III file, which will easily read into an external GIS software, as a map data layer. More information on Vitalnet maps

⇒ Can I download results data? Yes, in several ways.

Formats available for downloading Vitalnet results: * CSV / TSV / DIF - Import into spreadsheet software. * dBASE III - Import into GIS software. * ASCII Text - Importing into word processor. * HTML - Display in browser. Note: None of the data within Vitalnet can be directly accessed or downloaded by users.

⇒ What are the hardware requirements? Minimal.

Disk and memory requirements are low. For example, 2000 Texas death data (149,763 deaths) uses about 600 kilobytes of disk space. VitalPro uses 1 to 2 megabytes of RAM. Keep in mind that typical computers have 4 gigabytes of RAM, so usage is very low. Vitalnet takes about a second to produce most output, even on low-end (slow) computers.

⇒ What are the software requirements? Minimal.

VitalPro runs under Windows, DOS, and Linux. Any version of Microsoft Windows is supported. The VitalWeb front-end runs in a browser. More than 99% of current browsers are supported. We provide the VitalWeb back-end, on a secure server. Vitalnet does not require other commercial software (SAS, Oracle, etc.) to run.

⇒ Can I monitor program usage? Yes.

We realize the importance of usage monitoring for: * Producing budget reports. * Measuring program usage. * Determining common analyses. Vitalnet provides you the following information: * Counts of tables, maps, and charts. * Links to actual output produced. * Log files with a record for each output made.

⇒ How is Vitalnet licensed? Flat-rate license (separate page).

⇒ Why should I license Vitalnet software? Many reasons.

• Save large amounts of money in development costs.
• Save large amounts of money in maintenance costs.
• Get best available data warehouse solution.
• Get software infrastructure for virtual data center.
• Increase user productivity, saving time and money.
• Receive professional online help and user guides.

• Make best use of data for analysis & decision-making.
• Produce useful results and answers in seconds.
• Provide both local and remote access to needed data.
• Get guaranteed data integrity and testing services.
• Meet the needs of both occasional and expert users.

• Get ready-to-use, clearly documented output.
• Greatly simplify procurement and admininistration.
• Minimize user training needs and costs.
• Get full support needed for project success.
• Get full customization for your requirements.

⇒ What's the catch? There is no catch.

Online form to use. Or call us at 888-709-5319 (PST). We look forward to learning about your needs and helping you make best use of your data.