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Christine Vestal

Christine Vestal is a staff writer for
Data & Analytics

Lack of public data hampers COVID-19 fight

Although standardizing the data states and localities publish is essential to COVID response. public health officials say providing better data isn’t so simple.

Data & Analytics

Reopening means contact tracing. Many states aren't ready.

With no national plan and scant federal dollars on the horizon, states are funding their own contact-tracing initiatives for what experts predict will be a massive undertaking lasting 18 months to two years, until a vaccine is developed.

Data & Analytics

Public coronavirus data varies widely between states

While most states made county- and ZIP code-level information available soon after they began reporting cases, some have hesitated to localize data further because of privacy concerns.

State & Local

In opioid epidemic, states intensify prescription drug monitoring

At least 39 states are insisting that health professionals use prescription drug-monitoring programs to analyze each patient’s prescription drug use before writing another prescription for highly addictive drugs.

Data & Analytics

New app maps overdose epidemic in real time

As drug overdoses are reported by responders, ODMAP tracks their time and location, giving authorities real-time information they can use to prepare a response or analyze trends.

State & Local

Absent state action, Missouri localities launch opioid prescription database

In addition to preventing patients from “doctor shopping” for pills, the online prescription drug tracking systems have been used to detect doctors who overprescribe the dangerous medications.

State & Local

States require opioid prescribers to check for 'doctor shopping'

In states where physicians are required to use monitoring systems, overall opioid prescribing has plummeted, as have drug-related hospitalizations and overdose deaths.