Torleiv Robberstad: Statistics on Health and care - a tool for area surveillance
Summary of Report of the Norwegian Board of Health Supervision 2/2009
One of the tasks of the Norwegian Board of Health Supervision in the Counties and the Offices of the County Governors is to keep themselves informed about health and social conditions in the county and the factors that influence these conditions. This area of work is called area surveillance.
Area surveillance involves obtaining information that can be used:
- to describe the situation
- to identify areas where there are deficiencies, or a danger of deficiencies occurring, in provision of services
- as the basis for assessing the need for supervision of services
- to identify unmet need or variation in provision of services that are not in accordance with health legislation or national goals, priorities or other instructions.
The Norwegian Board of Health Supervision in the Counties and the Offices of the County Governors are at the crossroad between national goals, municipal self-government and individual rights. Laws and regulations and public administration in the county are important for directing and developing practice.
Systematic area surveillance will provide an important basis for identifying vulnerable areas in relation to adequate services and other legislative requirements. It is a tool for monitoring health policy goals and the way in which the municipalities and the health trusts fulfil these goals. This work must be based on adequate information.
Data that is routinely collected and published provides information about the amount of services provided, the quality of services and expected changes in needs for services in the future.
This report deals with how these data are used in area surveillance. It deals mainly with municipal services, so much of the material is useful for the municipalities in relation to their work in accordance with Section 1-4 of the Municipal Health Services Act.