Northern Norway Regional Health Authority
Northern Norway Regional Health Authority and the use of data reporting to provide an overview of the determinants of health for local communities
The Northern Norway Regional Health Authority (Helse Nord RHF) is responsible for public hospitals in northern Norway. It was set up to provide the necessary specialist health services for the population of northern Norway and Svalbard. Its aim is to ensure that patients are treated at the right time and with the most appropriate treatment and for that reason understanding patterns of needs and determinants of health at a local level is paramount.
We spoke to Erik R. Sund, project manager at the Regional Health Authority. He says the Authority uses data to provide an overview of health and health determinants at a local level and the Health Atlas of North Norway is a collaborative project between the Northern Norway Regional Health Authority and the counties Nordland, Troms and Finnmark.
The aim of the project is to strengthen the knowledge base on public health in Northern Norway to produce indicators of health status. It was conceived as a way of providing an evidence base for public health advisors, planners and analysis units in the Northern Norway Regional Health Authority, as well as in the counties and municipalities. The information it uses comes from many different sources including the Ministry of Health and Care Services and various national government institutions and is all publicly available.
Erik says he came across InstantAtlas online because they wanted to find a way of presenting this local intelligence in an easily accessible visual format. “I have several years GIS experience and quickly realised InstantAtlas could do what we wanted it do to without the need for extensive investment. After going through a couple of tutorials I started work on getting the data ready which took around four weeks. We use around 50 indicators so it was fairly time consuming,” he says.
InstantAtlas was chosen as the preferred provider and the county council’s Research and Intelligence team began work on the LIS. The first step was to survey potential users to find out which data sets they were interested in and what they would be used for. A technical sub group was then set up with staff from the county council and borough council to prioritise these data sets before being uploaded to the LIS.
Meeting the need
There are currently two editions of the atlas, a local municipality atlas and an atlas of hospital areas in northern Norway. The municipality atlas features many more indicators than the atlas of hospital areas and covers the following topics:
The data reporting is still a relatively new feature and Erik has not had chance to get feedback so far. However, he knows that it is being used by local community partners working in health prevention and that it is a useful addition for people who want to get a broad overview of the determinants of health. Erik is pleased with the way the site is working and as far as updates are concerned it is a one person job.
Erik is hoping to continue developing the reports so they are accessible for users and will be adding in new data as well as some changes to the design. He is continuously on the lookout for other ways InstantAtlas is being used.
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