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Public Health England (PHE), established in April 2013, exists to protect and improve the nation's health and wellbeing, and reduce health inequalities. It does this through world-class science, knowledge and intelligence, advocacy, partnerships and delivery of specialist public health services.
InstantAtlas is widely used within PHE as it has a enterprise licence and was used for their Atlas of Variation in Healthcare, which has received widespread interest and coverage in the media.
We spoke to David Merrick Senior Public Health Intelligence Analyst, Knowledge and Intelligence Team about the Atlas and how he used mapping software to create an online version.
When did you first come across InstantAtlas?
I have known about InstantAtlas for around ten years and working at PHE has given me an opportunity to work with the software first hand.
“We consider the NHS Atlas series as an important set of publications that has received a positive response from clinicians, commissioners and managers alike. In many localities across England, the NHS Atlas of Variation in Healthcare has been used as a stimulus to start a search for unwarranted variation, and as a springboard to releasing resources for re-investment in higher-value healthcare for local patients and populations.”
How did you create the latest Atlas of Variation in Healthcare?
The Atlas has been going for five years and I have been involved in one compendium atlas and one themed atlas. However, this is the first time I’ve used the software and only recently went on the training course. We commissioned InstantAtlas to build the most recent Atlas for us, but now it is up and running I have been able to modify it.
What do you think are the benefits of using mapping software?
Presenting health data as an Atlas is helpful because it means you can manipulate a large amount of data and users can find the information they need quickly. It opens the data up to a wide range of users. It is also a good way to show differences between urban areas and rural areas. The online Atlas is a useful way of exploring the data further for those reading the NHS Atlas of Variation PDF document.
Can you tell us how the Atlases will be developed?
We are going to produce more themed atlases alongside existing atlases for children and young people, diabetes, kidney disease, respiratory disease, liver disease and diagnostic services.
NHS Atlas of Variation in Healthcare 2015 in the news (external articles)
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