Southern DHB sets up population health data portal

The Southern District Health Board has launched a new web portal to access population health data related to communities in the south of New Zealand’s South Island.

The website, called Tō Tātou Pūkete, hosts a database of public health information categorized into four key areas – demographics, health factors, health status and health services, with each indicator accompanied by a set of visual graphics and written descriptions.

DHB engaged various stakeholders – including the University of Otago, WellSouth Primary Health Network, Maori Health Directorate, Rūnaka and the Community Health Board – to develop the online portal.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT

The website was designed primarily to provide the public, clinicians and researchers with access to population health information, moving away from traditional means of publishing public health data.

The DHB says the online database can help improve health planning not only of the health service, but also of councils, NGOs and primary care providers. “The information can be used by health planners, researchers and clinicians to better understand what people need most from their health services,” he said.

Additionally, the website can help increase public health awareness in their area and provide communities with information to develop health-related initiatives.

THE GREAT TREND

By law, DHBs are responsible for conducting regular health needs assessments to assess the health status and needs of their resident populations. The creation of a data mining portal is the second phase of the DHB assessment, showing data that spans a period of five years or more and can be filtered by age, gender, ethnicity, deprivation and territorial local authority.

Tō Tātou Pūkete, according to Southern DHB Medical Officer of Health Susan Jack, supports the transition to Health New Zealand, a new health service which is due to replace the 20 DHBs from July.

In addition, the New Zealand government has allocated NZ$155 million over the next four years for the digital transformation of the Southern healthcare system as part of its budget 2022. The investment will contribute to a wide range of digital capabilities, including data insights and basic technology infrastructure.

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