Merging Environmental and Health Data for New Information

HealthTracks

Policy makers in Government Departments, like the Department of Health (Western Australia), require improved access to scientific evidence in a timely manner. Those responsible for health policy face additional challenges having to constantly protect patient confidentiality.

CRCSI developed the “HealthTracks” software package to maximise the efficiency of the population health budget spend.

HealthTracks demonstrates how spatial technology can improve the communication of complex statistical data by serving as a one-stop planning and evidence tool for health policy formulation. It allows seamless compatibility with Landgate’s existing Shared Land Information Platform (SLIP) to merge health data with hundreds of environmental and other datasets from external agencies.

The WA Department of Health led the CRCSI project having recognised the need for more informed planning and decision making, which now services a wide Departmental audience.

"What spatial technology will enable us to do as a Health Department is to maximise the impact of our budget spend – ensuring we put the right solutions in the right places. HealthTracks is leading the way to implement spatial awareness across the whole of the public health sector.” Dr Tarun Weeramanthri, Executive Director, WA Dept Health.

HealthTracks brings together a wealth of map data from a range of sources using Open GIS standards and presents them in a highly usable interface for non-GIS users, using an intuitive and innovative map display” Glenn Cockerton, Managing Director, Spatial Vision Pty Ltd

HealthTracks was built from user needs analysis and involved strong CRCSI collaboration between Landgate, WA Department of Health, Curtin University, and 43pl member Spatial Vision. The information provided via HealthTracks is assisting those responsible for the on-ground delivery of health programs. When combined with information from epidemiology systems it is capable of identifying priority areas based on sound evidence and it ensures that limited budgets are targeted to areas of greatest need.

HealthTracks is also contributing to Landgate’s objective to develop new and innovative ways of making land information available to further benefit government, business and the community. This project has also provided an avenue into other social science disciplines, potentially unlocking data sources for the wider spatial community to access in the future.

"HealthTracks is really exciting for us at Landgate. It spatialises a whole new and important sector and allows us to supply, through SLIP, data that can be used in new ways to really make a difference. This is the way of the future. “ Mike Bradford, CEO Landgate

HealthTracks is a significant advance in the application of Spatial in Health for those without GIS or statistical training. It will demonstrate the importance of spatial analytics and has real potential for influencing the social determinants of health.

The CRCSI will roll out modular enhancements to HealthTracks across Australia within the activities of the new CRCSI. This will be in areas of mental health, child health, environmental health, policy, country health service areas, and state-wide health planning.

"HealthTracks allows the user to spatially enable, model and visualise health information together with spatial data from external agencies. It optimises resource allocation through better identification of high risk populations, placement of treatment services and improved strategic planning and policy formulation”

Dr Tarun Weeramanthri, Chief Health Officer and Executive Director, WA Dept Health