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EPM5001 - Health indicators and health surveys

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Leader: Associate Professor J Simpson


Alfred Hospital First semester 2008 (Off-campus)


In this unit students are introduced to a variety of sources of routinely collected health related data and how these data are used to derive population measures of fertility, mortality and morbidity, and to measure health service utilisation, disease registration and reporting. Students learn to use quantitative demographic methods of direct and indirect age standardisation, and calculation of life expectancy by life table techniques to obtain valid comparisons between different population groups, and to examine health differentials.

Students also learn to develop, design and deliver a valid and reliable health questionnaire. The use of focus groups and other qualitative methods is described, as are standard instruments used in health surveys, coding, validity and reliability of measures, advantages and disadvantages of various modes of data collection. Finally, students learn to design and implement an efficient sampling strategy, and to analyse and interpret the data, taking into account design issues, such as stratification, clustering and weighting.


At the completion of this unit students should be able to:

  1. derive and compare population measures of mortality, illness, fertility and survival, using basic demographic tools such as life tables and age standardisation;
  2. access the main sources of routinely collected health data and choose the appropriate one, taking into account their advantages and disadvantages;
  3. design a valid and reliable health survey to collect primary data, design an efficient sampling strategy to obtain random sample of the target population, and choose the most appropriate mode of delivery;
  4. analyse, interpret and present the results of survey data, taking the sampling strategy into account.


Written assignments (100%)



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