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53rd Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Regional Integration: Europe, the Mediterranean and the World Economy", 27-31 August 2013, Palermo, Italy
The Austrian Federal Ministry of Health aims to improve the health of all people living in Austria and to decrease health and social inequalities. This leads to a careful planning and distribution of the available health care resources to meet government aims. The research project SALUD, funded by the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology and the Austrian Science Fund, focuses on building a Spatial Microsimulation Model for Austria by combining survey and census data to model small area health issues based on individuals or households where no data exists, so called missing data. Within this project, a first prototype of simSALUD is developed, which is a Web-based spatial microsimulation application for health decision support as to date no flexible and free-available Web application in the area of spatial microsimulation exists. simSALUD targets two groups: experts in the area and health policy decision makers (HPDM). The present work focuses on the latter group and will highlight the benefits of simSALUD for HPDM, as they are mainly interested in the results and not primarily in the underlying modelling process. The first prototype of simSALUD is a Web-based application that can be used either offline or online and is therefore accessible anywhere and anytime. Functionally it consists of three modules called (i) data loader, (ii) visualisation area, and (iii) geoprocessing tools. - The data loader supports the management of different datasets (loading, overlaying, sorting, etc.). The main benefit here is that HPDM may access a shared pool of open simulated data that is otherwise hardly available. - The visualisation area presents an interactive map with different standard functionalities, including zoom and pan. This is especially valuable for HPDM as hotspots and problem areas on maps can often be identified more easily than lots of numbers in a list. - The geoprocessing tools, such as ?create buffer? or ?location optimization? allow doing spatial analysis on data to answer what-if scenarios. In general, the main advantage of simSALUD is that HPDM can use the application and perform various spatial analyses without needing specialist skills in spatial microsimulation modelling or geoinformation science. The first prototype of SimSALUD will be introduced to our project partners in their health departments in order to evaluate its practical usefulness and relevance in the area of regional health planning. This work will discuss the results of the evaluation, highlighting the pros and cons of the prototype as well as defining the road map for futures developments of simSALUD. Hence, with simSALUD we hope to make a positive contribution for the area of spatial microsimulation modelling, as it is the first open accessible Web application so far.
health decision support
health decision support
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