HSC CORE ONE: HEALTH PRIORITIES IN AUSTRALIA
HOW ARE PRIORITY ISSUES FOR AUSTRALIAS HEALTH IDENTIFIED?
Health priority issues are those health issues that are greatest concern to governments and support organizations due to the effect they have on the overall health of Australians and the burden of health on the economy.
* Measuring health status
Health status is the pattern of health of the population in general over a period of time. We measure our health status through the process of data and information collection known as “epidemiology” which is the study of disease in groups or populations.
* Role of epidemiology
Governments use epidemiology and health related organizations to obtain a visual on the health status of a population to help identify patterns of health and disease and analyze how health service and facilities are being used.
Epidemiology considers the patterns of disease in terms of:
* Prevalence (the number of cases of disease in a population in a specific time) * Incidence (the number of new cases of diseases occurring in a population) * Distribution (the extent)
* Apparent causes (determinants and indicators)
The data collected through the epidemiological process focus on quantifiable and direct measures of illness, injury and death rather than on the positive qualities of health and well-being
Epidemiology commonly uses statistics on:
* Disease incidence
* Money spent on health care
* Contact with health care providers
* Hospital use
* Injury incidence
* Works days lost
Limitations of epidemiology:
Epidemiology has proved to be an effective approach to measuring health status, but it has some limitations. For example epidemiological statistics:
* Do not always show the significant variations in health status among population groups * Might not actually indicate quality of life in terms of peoples levels of distress, impairment, disability or handicap * Cannot provide the whole health picture
* Fail to explain why health inequities exist
* Do not account for health determinants
Epidemiology emphasizes controlled measurement based on disease and associated risk factors, with limited consideration of other contributing factors to health. Statistics also have limitations due to: * The varying reliability of data
* The numerous sources of information
* Imprecise methods of data collection
* Whether services use standard instruments, defiant ions and classifications.
- Measures of epidemiology
The common indicators of the health of community include measures of mortality (death), infant mortality, morbidity (illness) and life expectancy.
Refers to the number of deaths in a given population from a particular cause or over a period of time.
* 137 854 deaths were registered in 2007 in Australia. 70 569 (51 percent were males) 67 285 (49 percent were females) * In 2007 the northern territory recorded the highest standardized death rate and the Australian capital territory was the lowest. *
Australians main causes of death are cardiovascular diseases, cancers and respiratory diseases. Heart diseases, strokes and some cancers are minimizing.
- 46 626 Australians who were in the 2007 death toll took up one third (34 percent) because of cardiovascular diseases.
Refers to the number of infants death in the first year of life per 100 live births
Infant mortality can be divided into:
* Neonatal (deaths in the first 28 days)
* Post neonatal (deaths in the remainder of the first year of life
The former is influenced by the quality of maternal and neonatal care. The infant mortality rate in Australia has declined steadily over the past few decades. The infant mortality rate was 4.2 infant deaths per 1000 live births in 2007
The decline in the infant mortality rate over...