A new online health data tool will make information much more accessible and easy for decision-makers to understand some of New Zealand’s most important health information, say the researchers involved.
The data visualisation tool is called Healthspace Puna Ora and is run by Massey University’s Environmental Health Intelligence (EHI) team, who has experience in public and environmental health and spatial analysis. Interactive dashboards make it easy to explore health data and statistics at a regional level across New Zealand on topics such as environmental health, alcohol-related harm and Māori health, among other important health issues in New Zealand.
Director of the Environmental Health Intelligence Programme Professor Barry Borman, who has more than 20 years of experience in applied epidemiology and environmental and occupations health, says Healthspace includes data and statistics that are not available anywhere else. It includes hospitalisation and mortality rates for a wide range of health conditions, environmental health indicators such as Hazardous substances or Lead notifications and indicators of alcohol-related harm for New Zealand, at various regional levels.
“These indicators help give a wide-ranging snapshot of the health of New Zealanders and the information will be of use to anyone who is interested in health data and statistics such as the health sector, local and central government and non-governmental organisations.
“We want to empower decision-makers with the most up-to-date and relevant data so they can use that to inform policies and future planning."
Professor Borman says because the team has analysed and produced many of the statistics available on Healthspace, they are hoping to present more data and statistics for organisations such as councils, over time.
“Massey and the EHI programme are proud to bring our skills and expertise to help Government, elected representatives and businesses plan for the future and take into consideration important information. In today’s world information and intelligence are critical for informing smart policy and decision making that lead to real and lasting change.”
The data is updated annually where possible or when data becomes available through the census for example.
Healthspace has been made possible with input from a number of agencies including the Ministry of Health, district health boards, public health units, Massey University’s OpenLab, and Geowise (now part of Esri UK).