The Southern District Health Board has launched a new web portal for accessing population health data related to the southern communities of New Zealand’s South Island.
The website, called Tō Tātou Pūkete, hosts a database of public health information categorised into four key areas – demography, health drivers, health status and health services, with each indicator accompanied by a set of visual graphics and written descriptions.
The DHB has roped in various stakeholders – including the University of Otago, WellSouth Primary Health Network, Māori Health Directorate, Rūnaka, and the Community Health Council – to develop the online portal.
WHY IT MATTERS
The website was developed primarily to provide the public, clinicians, and researchers access to population health information, moving away from traditional means of publishing public health data.
The DHB says that the online database can help improve the health planning not just 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 care services,” it said.
Additionally, the website can help increase the public’s awareness of their region’s health and equip communities with information for developing health-related initiatives.
THE LARGER TREND
Under law, DHBs are tasked to conduct regular health needs assessments to gauge the health status and needs of their resident populations. The creation of a data exploration portal is the second phase of the DHB’s assessment, showing data that spans a five-year time frame or longer and can be filtered by age, sex, ethnicity, deprivation and territory local authority.
Tō Tātou Pūkete, according to Susan Jack, medical officer of Health at Southern DHB, supports the transition to Health New Zealand, a new health service that is set to replace all 20 DHBs starting in July.
In other news, the New Zealand government has allotted NZ$155 million over the next four years for the digital transformation of the Southern health system as part of its 2022 budget. The investment will contribute to a wide range of digital capabilities, including data insights and foundational technology infrastructure.