Being healthy is the most important concern in life. Every day of the week, the Public Health Service of Amsterdam (Geneeskundige en Gezondheidsdienst, GGD) strives to help all residents, from children to adults, to grow up and live in the healthiest and safest way possible. The GGD protects, monitors and promotes the population’s well-being by identifying and preventing health risks.
To fulfil this task, it is important to properly monitor the health of all of Amsterdam’s residents. That is why the GGD conducts research into the health, social situation and lifestyle of the city’s population. These data are presented every four years in the form of a public health analysis known as the ‘health monitor’.
The data are collected by means of questionnaires (in writing and online, and sometimes orally). Though a tried and tested method, it is becoming less effective, especially among young adults. There is a diminishing willingness to fill out questionnaires, resulting in gaps in data collection, even though high response rates are essential for the reliability and validity of health studies. So, it is vital for the GGD to increase the participation of certain groups to discover their health status and the factors that (co-) determine this status. Additionally, policy makers are increasingly demanding “today’s figures”, and not just once every four years.
In an era where data are collected in real time via apps, websites, wearables and other media, the key figures of the traditional health monitor seem obsolete as soon as they are published. The representativeness of these figures is under question, since not all population groups are properly accounted for; the 21-40 years age group is especially imprecise. What innovative data collection methods can de GGD use to fulfil its core task?
Develop an innovative solution to measure the health of the city and its population.
Issued by: Geneeskundige en Gezondheidsdienst (GGD)