longer-livesThe Public Health England Longer Lives study has featured prominently in the news of late. The study has compiled national statistics on cancer, lung disease, liver disease, heart disease and stroke in order to examine premature death figures in local authorities across England. The study was not intended as a piece of scaremongering, however. On the contrary – Longer Lives has the noble goal of improving the health of local communities across England. But how can healthcare data studies such as Longer Lives achieve their aims? Can the data captured in the Longer Lives study really help to improve the health of your community?


Gathering information

The first thing we gain from important healthcare studies such as Longer Lives is additional knowledge. It might be scary to look at England’s premature death statistics but the information it provides us with is highly important. Before Longer Lives, for example, we wouldn’t have known that the local authority of Manchester is the most prone to premature death in England, or that there was such a strong correlation between premature death and socioeconomic deprivation. If we don’t know these things, there is no way we can act on them and improve matters in future. Longer Lives and healthcare studies like it arm us with knowledge, allowing us to tackle problems we perhaps weren’t even aware of before.


Identifying trends

Aside from the more basic knowledge we’ve gained from the Longer Lives study – let’s call it ‘the general problem’ – we’re also able to infer patterns and trends from the new healthcare data, particularly via the excellent Longer Lives Atlas data visualisation. We can see, for example, that large urban centres are particularly susceptible to premature death, especially in the North of England. The same is true of socioeconomically deprived areas, while relatively wealthy, rural regions are comparatively healthy. We can even penetrate the data to identify problematic anomalies – local authorities such as York and Milton Keynes that don’t fit the expected pattern, ranking well for socioeconomics but also exhibiting a comparitively high rate of premature death.


Taking affirmative action

Now that we have all the relative healthcare data to hand and have inferred our conclusions, we can begin to take affirmative action and change things for the better. We now have every reason to believe that socioeconomic deprivation does contribute to premature death, and can work to better redistribute the nation’s wealth to improve the health of these affected communities. We know where to focus our efforts and we know why we’re doing so – there would be little point focussing our attentions on Wokingham, for example, as it boasts the nation’s lowest premature death figures, while Manchester, Blackpool and Liverpool are all in far greater need of assistance.


It’s easy to see how healthcare studies such as Longer Lives can help us to improve the health of communities across England; they may make for uncomfortable reading at times, but it’s more than worth it if we can change things for the better down the line. Healthcare research is of paramount importance in the 21st century, so if you’re looking to conduct your own study this year, take advantage of our healthcare data capture services and avail yourself of the most accurate, detailed data possible.