1Australian Institute Of Health And Welfare, Canberra, Australia

Aim: To develop an interactive mapping tool that allows users to examine chronic kidney disease (CKD) prevalence, hospitalisations and deaths across small geographical areas.
Background: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) reports have shown that the impact of CKD is not distributed evenly across geographic areas, with some areas experiencing considerably higher rates of CKD than others. This geographical variation is explored in this tool which presents data on prevalence, treatment and deaths at three levels: state/territory, primary health network areas and population health areas.
Method: This tool uses data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics National Health Measures Survey, AIHW National Hospital Morbidity Database and AIHW National Mortality Database. Choropleth maps have been used to present variation across geographical areas. Variation in rates is represented by variation in colour. Two main types of colour schemes were used:

  • A sequential colour scheme to represent variation in rates based on area-based quantile categories.
  • A diverging colour scheme to represent measures above and below the national average.

Results: The tool contains 4 sets of interactive maps, one each for CKD prevalence, CKD hospitalisations, dialysis and CKD deaths. Every map contains supplementary statistics (such as numbers, rates, rate ratios and demographic/health profile information) accessible through a pop-up box display by clicking on a particular area of a map. ‘No data’ are used in pop-up boxes where the statistics were not available or not reliable enough to be reported for a specific area.
Conclusions:This interactive mapping tool provides invaluable information on the distribution of CKD across geographical areas. It can help guide the planning and development of community health initiatives and local health services.

Thao Vu is currently a senior data analyst in the Cardiovascular, Diabetes and Kidney Unit at the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare in Canberra. She has a master’s degree in Health Communication through The University of Sydney. Her current interests include the use of administration and linked data to improve the monitoring of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular, diabetes and chronic kidney disease. Her goal is to apply epidemiological and statistical techniques to effectively conduct disease surveillance at the national level, and assist in the development of policies to improve the health and wellbeing of Australians.

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