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Case study 1: How well does Australia’s health compare internationally?

Our challenge

Needing a comparison tool

There was no Australia-specific tool that could be used to compare national health and health-care data with comparable data from other countries.

Our response

Delivering data visualisations

We published International health data comparisons, 2018—a novel set of interactive data visualisations that allow users to focus on Australia’s performance in a range of health and health care indicators and compare with the OECD average and results for 36 OECD member countries.

The data visualisations show that Australia performs relatively well across most of the indicators, with the sixth highest life expectancy at birth of 82.5 years—above the OECD average of 80.6 years. Australia also had the sixth lowest percentage of daily smokers (12%) across OECD countries, well below the OECD average of 18%. However, the data also show there are some areas where Australia could be doing better. For example, Australia had the ninth highest rates of overweight and obesity overall at 63%; while men had the third highest rate of overweight and obesity (71%), behind the United States of America and Chile.

Our results

Making data comparisons more accessible to users

This product demonstrates how data and technological innovation support our strategic directions.

Release of this work generated considerable interest and mentions in the media. Comparing health and health care data between countries facilitates international comparative reporting, supports policy planning and decision-making, and enables health-related research and analysis.