FAQ's

This guide provides additional information about reports developed by the Northern Health Population and Public Health Support Unit: Population Health Status in Northern BC By the Numbers.

What are By the Numbers reports and how can they be used?

By the Numbers is a series of short graphic reports on specific population health topics in Northern BC. They provide an overview of general trends at the Health Authority level. They do not provide a detailed analysis of a topic, or at the community-level.

By the Numbers reports identify priority population health issues in Northern BC. They can be used to better understand trends over time, groups of people that are most affected, and health status disparities between residents of Northern BC and the rest of the province. This information can inform policy and action.

What is population health status and how is it measured?

Population health status is the health of a group of people. By the Numbers reports focuses on the residents of Northern BC. 

Population health status is measured by indicators such as life expectancy, infant mortality, incidence and prevalence of chronic disease, mortality, and premature mortality. Data for these indicators is based on where a person lives, regardless of where care is received. For example, a person from Fort St. John, BC who receives care at the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria, BC will be included in the data for Northern BC.

Where does the information in the reports come from?

The data sources for By the Numbers reports vary depending on the topic of the report.

Data on the use of health services provides a way of understanding population health status. Health service utilization is influenced by several factors, such as health status, demographics, physician referral patterns, patient choice, distance to health services, and wait lists. The data reflects health care services the community is using, not necessarily what a community needs.

Most available data is reported at aggregated health region levels, such as Health Service Delivery Area and sometimes at the Local Health Area level.

What is the Northern Health Administrative Boundary?

Northern Health administrative boundary is the geographic boundaries within which Northern Health provides services. Northern Health is further divided into three Health Service Delivery Areas (HSDAs): Northwest; Northern Interior; and Northeast. HSDAs are further divided into smaller areas called Local Health Areas (LHA). All of these administrative areas are defined by the Ministry of Health. Depending on the data source, population health reports can be generated for a LHA, HSDA, or Health Authority.

How can I get more information about a specific population health topic or request a new By the Numbers topic?

How should I cite By the Numbers reports?

Please site the reports based on the following example:

What is Northern Health’s Population and Public Health Support Unit?

The Population and Public Health Support Unit (PPHSU) was established in February 2018 with the purpose of providing expertise in planning, evaluation, quality improvement, data analysis and reporting for the regional Population and Public Health portfolio. One of the PPHSU’s key functions is to facilitate the transformation of data to action through Epidemiology and Surveillance. The PPHSU supports the Office of the Chief Medical Health Officer to meet provincial requirement to report on the health status of the population.

Northern Health’s Population and Public Health Support Unit publishes a number of reports, located on the Community Health Information Page.

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