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Rhode Island HEALTH Web Data Query System Research Paper

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Updated: May 14th, 2021

Components of Knowledge Management

The system described in the article provides information about behavioral risk factors and youth risk behavior surveys, as well as data about death certificates. Death Certificate Data is the primary focus of the article: using this module; users can see age-specific data sets or adjust causes of death (up to four categories) to find the desired information (Gjelsvik & Monteiro, 2009). Furthermore, report content and output can be defined by the user. This system was created to address the needs of healthcare professionals and other researchers who might need the specific data that this module can provide. It should be noted, however, that the system contains information about Rhode Island residents only (Gjelsvik & Monteiro, 2009). Users can download the output using Excel; the system also ensures confidentiality and masks data about those causes of death, which apply to five or fewer cases (Gjelsvik & Monteiro, 2009).

Another feature of the system is that it includes the causes of death of RI residents even if they occurred in other states (Gjelsvik & Monteiro, 2009). Nevertheless, users need to wait for the final annual report because those deaths that occurred in other states might not be included until the report is completed.

One should also consider the fact that the system does not cover the deaths with missing, unknown, and not classifiable data, although they are included in the total outcomes (Gjelsvik & Monteiro, 2009). The main supporters of the system and its development were the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the programming used in this system was adjusted using the Arkansas Department of Health Center for Health Statistics Query System (Gjelsvik & Monteiro, 2009, p. 32).


Organizations involved in the governance of the system are the following: the Rhode Island Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Arkansas Department of Health Center that provided the core programming (Gjelsvik & Monteiro, 2009). The Rhode Island Department of Health is an organization that provides various healthcare services to the residents of Rhode Island; for example, the organization monitors the health status of residents, investigates the issues linked to healthcare, and educates people about health and health problems.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a national public health institute in the USA. It promotes health education, provides information about the prevention of diseases and injuries, and also researches non-infectious diseases.

The Arkansas Department of Health Center is a public health organization that focuses on research and investigation of health issues and diseases and educates people about disease prevention programs, medical services, and community-based strategies that target healthcare-related issues.

Information, Advantages, and Disadvantages

The information that one can obtain using the system covers various causes of death, including salmonella infections, whooping cough, syphilis, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease, and many others (Gjelsvik & Monteiro, 2009). Furthermore, the website provides information about the ten leading causes of death in Rhode Island. The advantages of this system are its structured sets of information that users can access and download if needed. Furthermore, it also provides age-adjusted and age-specific rates, which significantly influence the usability and convenience of the system. The system also includes data on those Rhode Island residents who died in other states, which can also be seen as an advantage of the system. The focus on Rhode Island residents only can be considered as a disadvantage, but the aim of the system was not to provide nation-wide data. The disadvantage of the system is that information about deaths and their causes are updated when the annual report is published. Therefore, a health professional who uses the system before the annual report is released might receive incomplete or incorrect information, which can adversely influence their research or study.

Furthermore, it is also evident that some of the information presented on the website was published more than ten years ago, which makes it obsolete and unreliable for conducting a study. If a researcher decides to study ten leading causes of death, he or she will see that this information relates to the year 2010, which might be irrelevant in 2017. Therefore, the administration of the website and the Department of Health need to consider adding new, more relevant information about health issues, births, deaths, etc., so that healthcare professionals can use relevant data in their research.

However, the data presented on the website might be useful for retrospective comparative studies, which do not demand to use sets of recent data (e.g., from 2012 to 2017). Therefore, it can be said that the system is a valuable archive of data related to health issues that healthcare professionals can use if they conduct a retrospective study.

How is Information Collected?

Depending on the type of data, it can be obtained using different sources. For example, information about death and causes of death are provided by Funeral Directors to the Office of Vital Records (Department of Health, n.d.). To collect information about births and birth-related issues, Rhode Island’s birthing hospitals and mothers who prefer to deliver at home provide information to the Department (Department of Health, n.d.). The data in Death Certificate Module has been collected ongoing since 1983; final data can only be available “no sooner than 2 years after the end of the calendar year” (Department of Health, n.d., para. 3). Although Gjelsvik and Monteiro (2009) state that the output could be downloaded in Excel format, the recent data sets are displayed and downloaded in PDF format, apparently for the user’s convenience. Furthermore, some of the data is shown on the website in the form of graphs, diagrams, and pictures. The user cannot download them directly from the website but can take a screenshot of them if needed for the research.

Youth Risk Behavior Survey Results

The program chosen for this paper is Youth Risk Behavior Survey. This program focuses on the health risks related to the behavior of adolescents from grades six to twelve. All the data that was analyzed and collected is published on the website as promotional and educational material. The query I conducted was related to the survey results on risk behavior; the data was published in 2016. Using a detailed survey, the researchers collected and analyzed the answers; they presented the results in a separate PDF file. According to the survey results, 15.5% of students from grades 9-12 were bullied in 2015 (Department of Health, 2016, p. 4). Furthermore, 9.1% of students were involved in a physical fight (Department of Health, 2016). Only 4.8% of students carried a gun in 2015 (Department of Health, 2016).

It should also be noted that one in four middle school students did not feel they belonged to their school; 38% of middle school students were ever bullied at school (Department of Health, 2016, p. 4).

The survey results also focus on the mental health of the students. According to them, 26.4% of middle school students felt sad or hopeless in 2015, and 14.1% considered suicide (Department of Health, 2016, p. 5). The authors of the research notice that “female students were two times more likely to feel sad or hopeless,” while the percentage of Hispanic students who reported feeling sad was higher compared to other groups (Department of Health, 2016, p. 5). Nevertheless, the results also show that there is a modest decrease in reports about feeling sad in students from grades 10 to 12 (Department of Health, 2016). Attention should be paid to the rates of students who tried to kill themselves: 6.2% or one in twenty students attempted to commit suicide (Department of Health, 2016).

The research also provides information about substance use. It is evident that the use of marijuana has not changed since 2005 (approximately 24% of students use marijuana). Nevertheless, cigarette use has decreased to 4.8% (Department of Health, 2016). Alcohol consumption had the highest rates in 2015: about 26.1% of students reported that they drank alcohol (Department of Health, 2016).

As for electronic cigarettes, 7.6% used them; 16.4% of middle school students ever tried alcohol (Department of Health, 2016, p. 7).

At last, sexual activity should also be taken into consideration. According to the research, 61.4% of students (6-12 grades) reported using condoms; 25.7% of students used birth control to prevent pregnancy (Department of Health, 2016, p. 7). Moreover, 13.2% of twelfth-grade students reported having sex with more than four persons, which increases the risk of acquiring a sexually transmitted disease (Department of Health, 2016, p. 7). The decline in the education of middle school students about HIV and AIDS was also noted.


Department of Health. (n.d.). Center for health data and analysis and public health informatics. Web.

Department of Health. (2016).Web.

Gjelsvik, A., & Monteiro, K. (2009). Rhode Island HEALTH web data query system: Death Certificate Module. Medicine and Health, Rhode Island, 92(1), 32-33.

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