VISU unveils Injury Atlas 2.0: Q&A with Himalaya Singh

The Injury Atlas of Victoria has been revamped with new-and-improved features.

Developed by our Victorian Injury Surveillance Unit, the free online tool allows users to explore the unintentional injury hospital admissions data of Victoria by demographics, geographical regions and injury characteristics.

VISU Research Officer, Dr Himalaya Singh (pictured) is the creator of the Atlas and he joined us to explain its value, how the concept came about and the new features of Version 2.0.Himalaya Singh

For those who haven’t explored the Atlas, can you tell us a little bit about it and why it’s such a valuable tool?

The Injury Atlas is a free online tool that allows users to explore the unintentional injury hospital admissions data of Victoria by demographics, geographical regions and injury characteristics. The tool improves the accessibility and availability of injury data and information as needed by the user.

The tool presents what traditionally would be considered complex and technical data in a user friendly and interpretable way. It is particularly valuable in making injury data readily available for use in injury prevention policy and planning.

The injury data request service is still operational, and this tool doesn’t replace the VISU service, but it allows data users to generate custom injury statistics that suit their data requirements. We expect the Injury Atlas to increase the reach and uptake of injury statistics in Victoria and beyond. Better data leads to better prevention, so we hope that in this way, the Injury Atlas makes a valuable contribution to reducing injury in Victoria.

How did the concept of the Injury Atlas of Victoria first come about?

The concept of an Injury Atlas was initially developed in my PhD project , which was focused on sports injury in Victoria. One of the objectives of my PhD research was to design a system to disseminate my injury research findings. I wanted these research findings to be readily accessible and easily shared with various stakeholders.

The sport injury atlas tool I developed as part of my research was well received, particularly in a sports injury context.  It was in this process that I became aware of the injury data repository that VISU holds and its potential benefits of being included into the application. VISU had been interested in developing an online tool for injury data for some time, so the timing was good.

What sort of feedback have you received since launching the website? How useful do you think it’s been to injury prevention stakeholders and the broader community?

Whilst we are always looking for ways to enhance the product ourselves, the feedback we commonly receive is around additional injury data filters and other Injury related datasets. We’ve been able to address most of the feedback, but we are limited in how much we can show breakdowns of the data (for example into very small age groups). To maintain confidentiality of the hospital admissions data, we don’t display case numbers below five.

Regarding uptake by key stakeholders and the community: our user logs suggest that people from a wide variety of organisations, both public and private, have used the Injury Atlas since its initial launch. Knowing that all levels of Government rely on evidence when creating Injury Prevention Policy or programmes, we can assume that the Injury Atlas has played, and will play, a valuable part in informing future policy and decision making.

You’ve now launched Version 2.0 of the website. What are some of the improvements we should be looking for?

The biggest improvement in Version 2.0 is the addition of the Transport Injury Atlas. Transport-related injuries are one of the most requested injury topics at VISU. This new feature allows users to filter and explore transport injury data based on different search variables. In addition to the new Transport Injury feature, users can now also explore the injuries in detail by individual regions of Victoria such as Local Government areas, DHHS Health areas and Remoteness areas.

As part of our continuous improvement we are always looking at the design and ease-of-use, responding to feedback received via the Atlas website or through direct Stakeholder engagement.

What further additions are planned for enhancing the Atlas?

We are looking into potentially including injury-related Emergency Department presentation data. There are some data quality issues that first need to be addressed; VISU is currently conducting a project to improve some of the injury surveillance data that are collected in Emergency Departments in Victoria.

In addition to that, some of the future additions we are considering are other datasets, data filters, a restricted data access feature, and statistical analysis capabilities.