VAHI is excited to announce that from 1 January 2019, we will be reporting on the health status of the Victorian population in addition to our existing suite of health service reports.
The expansion of VAHI’s scope is a result of the Health Intelligence Unit (HIU) coming to join VAHI from the Department of Health and Human Services. With the move, VAHI will assume responsibility for the Victorian Population Health Survey and other population-level reports. The epidemiologists and other staff have moved across to VAHI and been welcomed by the team.
The addition of population health reporting to our existing health service reporting means VAHI is able to provide a fuller picture of Victoria’s health. Measuring the health of the Victorian population helps build the evidence on how the work of health services, the Department and the health system as whole, impacts the lives of Victorians.
The Victorian Population Health Survey, which has been conducted each year since 2001, makes up a significant part of the team’s work. It gives an annual assessment of the health status and wellbeing of adults living in Victoria and provides data for key population health indicators. The survey’s findings are used to inform evidence-based policy development and strategic planning across government and the wider community.
VAHI will also work on a variety of health intelligence activities including the Victorian Health Status Atlas and the Victorian Health Information Surveillance System.
A further element is management of the international contract with the Commonwealth Fund, which produces reports comparing the US health system and that of other high-income countries.
Population health reporting ties in well with VAHI’s efforts to embed the Australian Health Performance Framework into our work. The framework will enable system-wide reporting on Australia’s health and healthcare quality, safety and performance. It places the health system in relation to the broader context of human health and social determinants.
Food insecurity in Victoria
One example of information generated by the Victorian Population Health Survey is a report on food insecurity in Victoria, which considers the underlying determinants and associated health outcomes. A person is said to be experiencing food insecurity when the availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or their ability to acquire acceptable food in socially acceptable ways is limited or uncertain. The latest report shows:
- Around 1.8 million adults in Victoria aged 18 years or older were food insecure on at least one occasion in the 12 months prior to the survey, by at least one of seven measures of food insecurity. This includes approximately 183,000 adults who on at least one occasion ran out of food, could not afford to buy more and therefore went hungry.
- Food insecurity is a particular problem for specific populations, including adults who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, single parents, the unemployed, adults who were unable to work and those with pre-tax household income of less than $40,000.
- Food insecurity is a risk factor for obesity – more than one in three Victorian adults who are obese experienced food insecurity.
- Food insecurity is strongly associated with poorer mental and physical health.
We are excited by the wealth of information that these population-level studies will bring to VAHI. Over time, we plan to share the results of these studies across different audiences to give a more comprehensive picture of Victorians’ health.
We are currently planning our report releases for the year and look forward to sharing more details with you in future issues.
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.