Health Intelligence Unit

Melbourne, Australia

Health Intelligence Unit

Melbourne, Australia

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Markwick A.,Health Intelligence Unit | Markwick A.,Monash University | Ansari Z.,Health Intelligence Unit | Ansari Z.,Monash University | McNeil J.,Monash University
BMC Public Health | Year: 2014

Background: The prevalence of food insecurity is substantially higher among Australians of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent. The purpose of this study is to explain the relationship between food insecurity and Aboriginal and Torres Islander status in the state of Victoria. Methods. Data were obtained from the 2008 Victorian Population Health Survey; a cross-sectional landline computer-assisted telephone interview survey of 34,168 randomly selected Victorians aged 18 years and older; including 339 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. We categorised a respondent as food insecure, if in the previous 12 months, they reported having run out of food and not being able to afford to buy more. We used multivariable logistic regression to adjust for age, sex, socioeconomic status (household income), lifestyle risk factors (smoking, alcohol consumption and obesity), social support (ability to get help from family, friends or neighbours), household composition (lone parent status, household with a child, and household size), and geographic location (rurality). Results: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders (20.3%) were more likely than their non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander counterparts (5.4%) to have experienced food insecurity; odds ratio (OR) = 4.5 (95% CI; 2.7-7.4). Controlling for age, SES, smoking, obesity and inability to get help from family or friends reduced the odds ratio by 38%; ORadjusted = 2.8 (1.6-5.0). Conclusions: Social determinants and lifestyle risk factors only partially explained the higher prevalence of food insecurity among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Victoria. Further research is needed to explain the disparity in food insecurity between the two populations in order to inform and guide corrective action. © 2014 Markwick et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Ansari Z.,Health Intelligence Unit | Ansari Z.,Monash University | Ansari H.,University of Melbourne | Sindall C.,Health Intelligence Unit
Population Health Management | Year: 2013

Ambulatory care sensitive conditions (ACSCs) are used as a measure of access to primary health care. The purpose of this study was to identify factors associated with variation in ACSC admissions at a small area level in Victoria, Australia. The study was ecologic, using Victorian Primary Care Partnerships (PCPs) as the unit of analysis. Data sources were the Victorian Admitted Episodes Dataset, census data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, and the Victorian Population Health Survey. Age- and sex-adjusted total ACSC admission rates were calculated, and weighted least squares multiple linear regression was used to examine the associations of total ACSC admission rates by various predictor variables. Key variables were categorized into 1 of 4 framework components for analyzing access and use of health care services: predisposing, enabling, need, or structural. Enabling characteristics explained 61.70% of the variation in ACSC admission rates across PCPs. Socioeconomic characteristics (income, education) and percentage with poor self-rated health were important factors in explaining variations in ACSC admissions at a small area-level [R2=0.77]. Community-level variables differentially affect access to primary health care, with significant variation by socioeconomic status. This analytical approach will assist researchers to identify community-level predicators of access across populations at locations, including factors that may be affected by policy change. © Copyright 2013, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. 2013.


O'Flanagan D.,Health Protection Surveillance Center | Barret A.S.,Health Protection Surveillance Center | Foley M.,Health Protection Surveillance Center | Cotter S.,Health Protection Surveillance Center | And 6 more authors.
Eurosurveillance | Year: 2014

In 2011, the Irish Medicines Board received reports of onset of narcolepsy following vaccination against influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 with Pandemrix. A national steering committee was convened to examine the association between narcolepsy and pandemic vaccination. We conducted a retrospective population-based cohort study. Narcolepsy cases with onset from 1 April 2009 to 31 December 2010 were identified through active case finding. Narcolepsy history was gathered from medical records. Pandemic vaccination status was obtained from vaccination databases. Two independent experts classified cases using the Brighton case definition. Date of onset was defined as date of first healthcare contact for narcolepsy symptoms. Incidence of narcolepsy in vaccinated and non-vaccinated individuals was compared. Of 32 narcolepsy cases identified, 28 occurred in children/adolescents and for 24 first healthcare contact was between April 2009 and December 2010. Narcolepsy incidence was 5.7 (95% confidence interval (CI): 3.4-8.9) per 100,000 children/adolescents vaccinated with Pandemrix and 0.4 (95% CI: 0.1-1.0) per 100,000 unvaccinated children/adolescents (relative risk: 13.9; absolute attributable risk: 5.3 cases per 100,000 vaccinated children/adolescents). This study confirms the crude association between Pandemrix vaccination and narcolepsy as observed in Finland and Sweden. The vaccine is no longer in use in Ireland. Further studies are needed to explore the immunogenetic mechanism of narcolepsy.


Ansari Z.,Health Intelligence Unit | Ansari Z.,Monash University | Haider S.I.,Health Intelligence Unit | Ansari H.,University of Melbourne | And 2 more authors.
BMC Health Services Research | Year: 2012

Background: Ambulatory Care Sensitive Conditions (ACSCs) are those for which hospitalisation is thought to be avoidable with the application of preventive care and early disease management, usually delivered in a primary care setting. ACSCs are used extensively as indicators of accessibility and effectiveness of primary health care. We examined the association between patient characteristics and hospitalisation for ACSCs in the adult and paediatric population in Victoria, Australia, 2003/04. Methods. Hospital admissions data were merged with two area-level socioeconomic indexes: Index of Socio-Economic Disadvantage (IRSED) and Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA). Univariate and multiple logistic regressions were performed for both adult (age 18+ years) and paediatric (age <18 years) groups, reporting odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for a number of predictors of ACSCs admissions compared to non-ACSCs admissions. Results: Predictors were much more strongly associated with ACSCs admissions compared to non-ACSCs admissions in the adult group than for the paediatric group with the exception of rurality. Significant adjusted ORs in the adult group were 1.06, 1.15, 1.13, 1.06 and 1.11 for sex, rurality, age, IRSED and ARIA variables, and 1.34, 1.04 and 1.09 in the paediatric group for rurality, IRSED and ARIA, respectively. Conclusions: Disadvantaged paediatric and adult population experience more need of hospital care for ACSCs. Access barriers to primary care are plausible causes for the observed disparities. Understanding the characteristics of individuals experiencing access barriers to primary care will be useful for developing targeted interventions meeting the unique ambulatory needs of the population. © 2012 Ansari et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Haider S.I.,Health Intelligence Unit | Ansari Z.,Monash University | Vaughan L.,Health Intelligence Unit | Matters H.,Service Design and Implementation Group | Emerson E.,University of Sydney
Research in Developmental Disabilities | Year: 2014

Although polypharmacy is a medication safety concern leading to increased risk of non-adherence, adverse drug reaction and drug-drug interactions, polypharmacy and associated risk factors has rarely been investigated involving people with ID at a population level. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the prevalence of polypharmacy and to evaluate the role of different factors associated with polypharmacy in a state-wide representative population of adults with ID. In a population-based survey in Victoria, Australia, 897 people with ID 18 years of age or older were selected by simple random sampling. The data were collected from proxy respondents on behalf of people with ID. Polypharmacy was defined as the concomitant use of five or more medications. The data were weighted to reflect the age/sex/geographic distribution of the population. Results revealed that more than 76% of adults with ID had used prescribed medicine and about 21% were exposed to polypharmacy in the last two weeks. In both univariate and multivariate analyses, polypharmacy was significantly associated with older age, unemployment and inability to get help from family and friends if needed. After controlling for age, sex and severity of intellectual disability, polypharmacy was associated with having a blood pressure, blood cholesterol and blood glucose level check. Polypharmacy was also associated with a greater number of visits to general practitioners, fair or poor reported health status and inability to walk unaided. Subjects with epilepsy, diabetes, stroke, osteoporosis and cancer had a higher probability of polypharmacy. None of the disease inducing behaviors was associated with polypharmacy. This study highlights the need that medication should be regularly reviewed overall in ID population and particularly when polypharmacy exists. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


Kelsall L.M.,Health Intelligence Unit | De Gooyer T.E.,Health Intelligence Unit | Carey M.,Monash University | Vaughan L.,Health Intelligence Unit | Ansari Z.,Monash University
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health | Year: 2013

Objective: To estimate blood lead levels (BLLs) in the adult Victorian population and compare the distribution of BLLs with the current national reference level to better inform public health prevention and management of lead toxicity. Methods: Population-based crosssectional health measurement survey of 50 randomly selected Census Collection Districts (CDs) throughout Victoria. The Victorian Health Monitor (VHM) was conducted over 12 months from May 2009 to April 2010. One eligible person (aged 18-75 years) from each household selected within each CD was randomly selected to participate. Persons with an intellectual disability and pregnant women were excluded from the sampling frame. BLLs were obtained from 3,622 of the 3,653 (99%) VHM participants. Results: The geometric mean and median BLLs from the adult sample were 0.070 μmol/L (95%CI, 0.068-0.073) and 0.05 μmol/L (range: 0.05 to 1.22 μmol/L), respectively. Elevated BLLs (≥0.483 μmol/L or ≥10 μg/dL) were identified in 19 participants (0.7%; 95%CI, 0.3-1.6). Additionally, 86 participants (1.8%; 95%CI, 1.3-2.4) were identified with BLLs between 0.242 and <0.483 μmol/L (5 to <10 μg/dL). The geometric mean BLL was significantly higher for males, compared with females (0.077 μmol/L vs 0.064 μmol/L; p<0.001). BLLs increased significantly with age for both sexes. Conclusions: The first population estimates of BLLs in Victorian adults indicate the average adult BLL to be well below the current national reference level. However, some groups of the population have BLLs at which adverse effects may occur. Implications: The results provide baseline estimates for future population health surveillance and comparison with studies of at-risk groups. © 2013 The Authors.


Markwick A.,Health Intelligence Unit | Vaughan L.,Health Intelligence Unit | Ansari Z.,Monash University
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health | Year: 2013

Objective: Investigate the relationship between socioeconomic status (SES) and prevalence of overweight and/or obesity, by sex, using total annual household income as the indicator of SES and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended ranges of self-reported Body Mass Index (BMI) as the indicator of overweight and/or obesity. Methods: Total annual household income and BMI data were obtained from the Victorian Population Health Survey (VPHS), an annual computer-Assisted telephone survey of the health and well-being of Victorian adults aged 18 years and older. Statistical analysis was conducted using ordinary least squares linear regression on the logarithms of age-standardised prevalence estimates of overweight (25.0-29.9 kg/m2), obesity (≥30.0 kg/m2), and overweight and obesity combined (≥25.0 kg/m2), by income category and sex. Results: Typical SES gradients were observed in obese males and females, where the prevalence of obesity decreased with increasing income. No SES gradient was observed in overweight females, however, a reverse SES gradient was observed in overweight males, where the prevalence of overweight increased with increasing income. Combining the overweight and obesity categories into a single group eliminated the typical SES gradients observed in males and females for obesity, and resulted in a statistically significant reverse SES gradient in males. Conclusions: Combining the BMI categories of overweight and obesity into a single category masks important SES differences, while combining the data for males and females masks important sex differences. BMI categories of overweight and obesity should be analysed and reported independently, as should BMI data by sex. © 2013 The Authors.


O'Farrell A.,Health Intelligence Unit | De La Harpe D.,Health Intelligence Unit | Johnson H.,Steevens Hospital | Bennett K.,St James's Hospital
Irish Medical Journal | Year: 2011

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one of the leading causes of mortality. Although more prevalent in men, it is anticipated that, due to the convergence in smoking rates, the prevalence rate in women will surpass that of men. There were 14,519 deaths attributable to COPD in the period 2000-2009. Although deaths decreased for both sexes, reduction in deaths was significantly higher among men (test for trend, p<0.01 for men vs. p=0.06 for women). Smoking rates decreased for both sexes from 1980-2009 with the percentage reduction in smoking significantly greater in men (11.5% vs. 7.0%, p<0.001). There has been a convergence in COPD deaths and COPD hospital in-patient discharges for men and women that mirrors the trend in the convergence of male and female smoking rates. This study provides evidence of the need for effective smoking cessation programmes that are targeted at women as well as men.


PubMed | Health Intelligence Unit and Merlin Park Regional Hospital
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Irish medical journal | Year: 2017

Estimates show that homelessness is increasing in Ireland. This study analysed the epidemiology of emergency hospitalisations among those experiencing homelessness between 2005-2014. All in-patient admissions to acute hospitals classified with no fixed abode were extracted from the Hospital In-patient Enquiry System. Data were analysed using JMP. There were 2,051 in-patient emergency admissions of people classified with no fixed abode during the study period, an increase of 406% since 2005 (78 in 2005 vs. 395 in 2014). The mean age was 40.6 (S.D. 13.2). The majority of patients (1,176 /2,051; 57%) had a mental/ behavioural diagnosis. Over one in ten (280; 13.7%) were admitted for ambulatory care sensitive conditions (ACSCs) including convulsions/epilepsy (N=92/280; 32.9%), cellulitis (62/280; 22.1%) and COPD (29/280; 10.4%). The health of homeless people is a fundamental issue that needs addressing. Access to, and use of, community and preventative services is needed to reduce utilisation of emergency hospital services.


PubMed | VCS Inc. and Health Intelligence Unit
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Sexual health | Year: 2016

Background Adult Australian women aged 18 to 26 years were offered human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in a mass catch up campaign between 2007 and 2009. Not all doses administered were notified to Australias HPV vaccine register and not all young women commenced or completed the vaccine course.We surveyed vaccine age-eligible women as part of the Victorian Population Health Survey 2011-2012, a population based telephone survey, to ascertain self-reported vaccine uptake and reasons for non-vaccination or non-completion of vaccination among young women resident in the state of Victoria, Australia.Among 956 women surveyed, 62.3 per cent (57.8-66.6%) had been vaccinated against HPV and coverage with three doses was estimated at 53.7 per cent (49.1-58.2%). These estimates are higher than register-based estimates for the same cohort, which were 57.8 per cent and 37.2 per cent respectively. A lack of awareness about needing three doses and simply forgetting, rather than fear or experience of side effects, were the most common reasons for failure to complete all three doses. Among women who were not vaccinated, the most frequent reasons were not knowing the vaccine was available, perceiving they were too old to benefit, or not being resident in Australia at the time.It is likely that at least half of Victorias young women were vaccinated during the catch-up program. This high level of coverage is likely to explain the marked reductions in HPV infection, genital warts and cervical disease already observed in young women in Victoria.

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