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The Norwegian Institute
of Public Health
InstantAtlas talks to
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) works to improve public health by developing preventative health strategies. Since the start of 2016 the institute also contributes to quality improvement in the health services by summarising research, promoting the use of research results, measuring the quality of health services and working to improve patient safety. We spoke to Oliver Tomic, senior research scientist at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, about InstantAtlas and how he used it to create the country’s first atlas showing variations in re-admission to hospital within 30 days after discharge.
How did you find out about InstantAtlas?
We first came across InstantAtlas a couple of years ago when we were looking for ways to make the data from quality measurement and patient safety analysis more accessible. We were considering different methods for publishing our information on quality healthcare systems and their indicators. We had seen how other institutes, similar to ourselves, had used interactive maps to visualise data. Our department head showed us the Northern Norway Regional Health Authority Northern Norway Regional Health Authority atlas and we liked what we saw.
How did you use InstantAtlas?
Using data from the Norwegian patient registry, we regularly carry out an all-episode based analysis of the patient data. Using this analysis we created an interactive map showing the probability of re-admission to hospitals within 30 days after discharge. We reported the indicator on various levels: by municipality, county, hospital trust and regional health authority.
It was straightforward to create the reports and we are in the process of building another map with a further four quality indicators. These will help to show the probability of survival 30 days after admission to a hospital and for the first-time myocardial infarction, hip fracture, stroke and total survival (this indicator is based on 42 diagnoses that lead to about 80 per cent death cases in Norwegian hospitals). The completed map will give us a much better overview of quality of health care on hospital, hospital trust and regional health authority level.
Who is the NIPH InstantAtlas for?
The NIPH InstantAtlas maps will mainly be used by professionals working in Norwegian health services, in particular those with an interest in health improvement and policy making. However, the map can be accessed freely online so the public will also see it. They will be able to use it to see how their municipality fares compared to neighbouring ones. In addition, we think doctors will use it to check on re-admission rates.
What sort of feedback have you had?
The first map was published fairly recently and received a lot of media coverage, not just mentions in the news, but also with links to it. Test users outside the NIPH have told us that the map provides an excellent way of finding information about the quality indicators for a specific region.
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What are your plans for future developments?
While the NIPH has come a long way in its mapping software development we still have a way to go before we have achieved everything we want to. As well as developing extra indicators, we would like to add in the Charlson comorbidity index, which may indicate the state of health of patients admitted to hospital.
What are the benefits of using InstantAtlas?
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