February 26, 2013
For immediate release
Moncton, NB (NBHC) - The New Brunswick Health Council (NBHC) has released its latest Population Health Snapshot. This Snapshot seeks to inform citizens, communities, and organizations about their health status with respect to the population in which they live. The information is available on one page and presented in a language that is easy to read and understand.
The Snapshots for the province and each of the seven zones have been updated with the most recent information available; for each zone, some areas of health determinants which can be influenced or improved upon to have a positive effect on someone’s health have been highlighted. Each indicator in our Snapshot falls within one of two categories: health status, or health determinants (which are grouped into Health Care, Health Behaviours, Socioeconomic Factors and Physical Environment).
Like last year, each Snapshot shows a demographic profile and presents the prevalence rates of chronic diseases and the top 10 hospital admissions for that zone. Wellness Networks and Socials Inclusion Networks contact information is available on the Snapshot. The report also includes a “Focus” section that explains the concept of avoidable mortality, defined as “untimely deaths that should not occur in the presence of timely and effective health care or other public health practices, programs and policy interventions”.* Premature mortalities are those before the age of 75 years old and New Brunswick ranks 7 out of 10.
This concept includes both treatable and preventable mortality; treatable refers to deaths that could have been avoided by proper treatment of the illness reducing the fatality of the condition, while preventable mortality means death that could have been avoided by preventing the condition from being developed at all, like injuries or pulmonary diseases.
In New Brunswick, we compare well with other provinces when it comes to treatable mortality, meaning that we are on par when it comes to our performance regarding health care. However, avoidable preventable mortality in New Brunswick exceeds the national average, meaning that we could do better at preventing chronic conditions in our citizens. The only exception to this trend is zone 6, comprising Bathurst and the Acadian Peninsula, which demonstrates a lower than Canada average in both treatable and preventable categories which poses interesting questions.
Overall, this year’s Snapshot shows that there are improvements in the province when it comes to access to regular doctor, because of a higher number of doctors. Obesity, smoking and stress are also improving, even though obesity rates continue to be among the worst in Canada.
The health care factors are showing improvement when it comes to better access and more intervention care, but it is still too early to judge whether these factors are contributing to the observed slightly better population health outcomes.
Heart diseases related conditions continue to have a major impact on hospital admissions, accounting for four of the top ten reasons for hospital admissions, most likely related to the high prevalence rates of high blood pressure (25.7%) and heart diseases (8.3%) in New Brunswick.
“As New Brunswickers, we need to develop ways to address the determinants of health from the Snapshot in our communities,” said Stéphane Robichaud, CEO of the NBHC. “Planning around these determinants is an opportunity for action at the community level around key priorities for all related stakeholders, whether in the public sector or community organizations.”
The NBHC plans on updating the Snapshot annually, based on the most recent data available. It will continue to evolve as we identify additional planning needs and as more indicators become available. The 2012 New Brunswick Population Health Snapshot is available online at: http://www.nbhc.ca//what-we-do/communities-map
The NBHC has been established as an independent organization that measures, monitors and evaluates New Brunswick’s health care system performance, population health and to engage citizens in the improvement of health service quality.
* Canadian Institute for Health Information(2012). Health Indicators 2012 report.
MEDIA CONTACT: Christine Paré, 506-869-6714, Christine.firstname.lastname@example.org