Deeper perception of health data
A vital women’s health program is being boosted through an improved data visualisation solution.
Data science, analytics, big data and the like might be common phrases these days within the IT industry, but, for the rest of society, these phrases sometimes cause confusion and lead to uncertainty of the benefits they can bring. With governments around the world opening up their data for public use, a key issue is how to transform this significant volume of data into a dynamic and engaging information resource accessible to a larger audience.
Over the last 15 years, Spatial Vision, a specialist in spatial information and technologies, has developed an approach that is attracting interest and gaining traction within Australia. The company’s PERCEPTION business data publication system provides a consistent user experience across a board range of contemporary browsers and devices. It offers flexible data structures that can be based around themes, classifications, regions and/or time-series.
One of the more recent applications of the platform has been the Victorian Women’s Health Atlas, which transformed significant volumes of gendered data into a dynamic and engaging information resource.
According to Vic Health, violence against women is the biggest contributor to ill health and premature death in women aged 15 to 44. A consequence of violence can be the onset of mental illness, such as anxiety and depression, which makes up 58% of the disease burden resulting from violence.
The Atlas enables users to view and interact with maps and graphs and to display statistics for each local government area, toggling between male and female results for indicators from four priority health areas — sexual health and reproduction, gender equality, mental health and violence against women.
The Atlas helps answer questions such as:
- How does my one compare with the state or neighbouring areas?
- How does this indicator vary across regions?
- Which areas of the state are in greatest need?
Where disparity across genders or geographical regions is identified, fact sheets can be printed and used to support advocacy and health planning outcomes.
The Victorian Women’s Health Atlas underpins Women’s Health Victoria in the delivery of its charter focusing on statewide women’s health promotion activities, including supporting the work of local government authorities and regional women’s health services throughout the state.
“Access to reliable data is critical to our efforts to improve health outcomes. It is an important tool in program and policy design and evaluation. Until now we haven’t been able to easily access gender-specific data on key health issues,” said Rita Butera, executive director of Women’s Health Victoria.
“The Victorian Women’s Health Atlas makes visible the differing experiences of women and men and provides an evidence base for planning and monitoring which will contribute to lasting improvements in women’s health.”
Spatial Vision has used reliable, open source componentry to develop the PERCEPTION platform, eliminating expensive third-party software licence fees. The data-driven backend makes it easily updatable and extendable, dramatically reducing the workload associated with publication and data maintenance.
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