Why a Health Observatory?
The Health Observatory exists because of the complexity of modern health problems and the need to approach them in new ways that will provide insights that lead to solutions. The Health Observatory is characterized by the following;
In analyzing the complexity of health problems we need the perspective of other disciplines to identify and test new explanatory hypotheses that will lead to more creative and effective solutions.
In addressing health problems we need high quality population samples that will allow us to extrapolate research findings to population sub-groups of interest with a high level of confidence. Survey vehicles such as the South Australian Health Omnibus Survey (SAHOS), an annual household interview survey and the computer assisted telephone interview (CATI) system provide such samples for both epidemiological and clinical studies.
Epidemiological methods allow us to identify patterns of disease in the population then investigate the reasons underpinning these patterns. Epidemiological methods also allow us to study the natural history of disease, monitor trends and identify disease outbreaks or epidemics. Disease can be studied retrospectively, prospectively or cross-sectionally with each approach offering different insights into the problems.
Population surveillance using quality samples allows us to investigate multiple aspects of the disease issue through the capacity to link the epidemiological data to other data sets from birth to death and thus providing a wealth of explanations.
Continuity -The Health Observatory provides a watching role on population health for the North West Adelaide Region.