Demonstrator 4: Health

Examining how social infrastructure data can be used in local health planning and innovation for type 2 diabetes management

Led by Dr John Furler, Department of General Practice, University of Melbourne.


This Demonstrator Project is based on collaborative work being undertaken by The Department of General Practice at the University of Melbourne and the Department of Health North West Metropolitan Region (NWMR). The Care and Systems Experience Diabetes (CASE-D) project has developed in-depth case studies about the pathways to, and experiences of, health care for people from disadvantaged backgrounds with type 2 diabetes living in the region. The case studies together with workshops with key stakeholders have identified important barriers to care. These include where services are located and how they are linked.

Primary Care Partnerships and Medicare Locals in the region face challenges in collating health, demographic and service data into a meaningful form to help them plan care services to respond to the needs of these disadvantaged clients. The aim of this project is to improve access to an integrated set of health-related (prevalence and service use) and social and physical infrastructure data to aid policy makers and planners.

Previous work has used National Diabetes Supply Scheme data to map diabetes prevalence in Western Melbourne by LGA and overlaid this with food outlet data to assist health planning. Other interactive mapping of chronic illness data have been undertaken at the Medicare Local Level and recent work by the Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute is in development mapping diabetes prevalence overlaid by health workforce data at the SLA level. This project, however, will use findings from the CASE-D project to specify key social and physical infrastructure, health and social services for this population. Mapping these key indicators using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) will generate integrated cross-sectoral data in a form useful to policy makers and planners in responding to difficult complex health problems at a local level.

Research question

Can tools (eg: GIS maps) that allow access to integrated cross-sectoral data (combining routinely collected health and health service data with a focus on community liveability) enhance health planning for health system responsiveness to poorly served marginalised patients with type 2 diabetes in the NWMR?

Contact details

Dr John Furler
Senior Research Fellow

Department of General Practice
University of Melbourne
200 Berkeley St, Carlton VIC 3053