Identifying 'non-medical' datasets to monitor community health and well-being

Patrick Saunders, Jonathan Mathers, Jayne Parry, Andrew Stevens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: The aim of the study was to identify 'non-medical' datasets holding routinely collected information that might be used to measure and monitor the wider determinants of community health and well-being. METHODS: An expert panel discussion, involving public health and environmental health academics and professionals with expertise in a variety of backgrounds (including environmental health, housing, transport, community safety, public health, primary and secondary care), and interrogation of the Office for National Statistics database were carried out for the West Midlands region. The aim was to identify routinely collected 'non-medical' datasets containing information on the following factors: physical environment, crime, housing and homelessness, social services, socio-economic environment including employment, lifestyles, education, leisure and culture, transport and accidents. RESULTS: Fifty-six datasets were identified. Although 43 (77 per cent) were collected at least annually, few (17; 30 per cent) held data that were disaggregated and routinely available at the sub-local authority level. CONCLUSIONS: This study has identified a number of datasets that hold information relevant to health. However, no single dataset is likely to provide information on all dimensions of health and the determinants of health, and local agencies should consider carefully the strengths and weaknesses of each. Through the development of inter-sectoral working and multi-agency involvement at the local level there is now considerable scope to improve the quality of many of these datasets and to promote their use in the measurement and monitoring of community health.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-108
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Public Health Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2001


  • community health
  • determinants of health
  • health monitoring
  • health data


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