New Online public health research tool launched using InstantAtlas

The Centre for Public Health has launched a website, CPHROnline, (www.cphronline.massey.ac.nz) which will allow health professionals, academics and the public to access all kinds of health related data online via a series of interactive maps. The website is a collaboration between Massey University’s Centre for Public Health Research,  the Ministry of Health’s Māori Health Directorate and the University of Otago’s Te Ropu Rangahau Hauora A Eru Pomare. It aims to become a repository for public health data from a wide range of organisations.

As well as mapping health data, CPHROnline reports include: bar charts comparing health data between different regions and ‘time series’ charts which show how health indicators within each region have changed over time. Health data accessible through CPHROnline includes “atlases’ on: causes of death (eg, cancer, diabetes), notifiable diseases, demographics, environmental health indicators as well as risk behaviours such as smoking and gambling.

The Māori Health Directorate’s atlas “Māori Health Statistics Online” displays public health data from a Māori perspective. Also, viewers to the Māori Health Directorate’s own website will be able to access this atlas by clicking on the relevant links.

Professor Barry Borman of Centre for Public Health Associate Professor Barry Borman from the Centre, which is part of Massey’s School of Public Health, says CPHROnline allows comparisons to be made between different areas and over time. It also features a ‘double map’, which allows two sets of data within the same health category to be compared.

Initially, the publicly available information needs to be sourced via the District Health Boards, but data at regional council and other geographic divisions will be added as CPHROnline develops.

“Data permitting a time series graph on the reports allows trends to be tracked over time, for example rate of meningococcal disease prior to and following the introduction of the vaccination programme, or new Quitline contacts following the hiking of the tobacco tax.”

The maps and the data will be available for download.

The centre welcomes public inquiries and is happy to discuss hosting data from other departments and organisations on the CPHROnline website.

“We think it’s a great tool for making data more easily accessible to a wide range of people with an interest in health” Professor Borman says.

Caption: Associate Professor Barry Borman

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