New Tool Maps Family Medicine's Impact Around the World

March 31, 2015 03:29 pm Chris Crawford

Pushing through the daily practice grind, family physicians might not have a moment to consider that family medicine is happening not only across the country, but also around the world.

[Doctor holding virtual globe]

The AAFP's new World Health Mapper tool offers physicians a chance to easily do just that -- explore data on country-level health indicators, health care costs and capacity, vital statistics, and contacts for family medicine opportunities abroad.

Andrew Bazemore, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care, told AAFP News that this application was developed using the Graham Center/AAFP online mapping platform, HealthLandscape.(www.healthlandscape.org)

"The project is a result of ambitions to expand our HealthLandscape geospatial data platform globally, while making global health data more available and readily accessible for primary care providers with global health interests," Bazemore said. "I've been active in global health education and activities for many years, and have wished many times for easily accessible international comparison data relevant to health and primary care."

Bazemore added that the tool offers a snapshot of the status and spread of family medicine around the globe, enhanced with contextual information about health and health care in the countries where family medicine currently is being practiced or potentially could be someday.

Story highlights
  • The AAFP's new World Health Mapper tool offers physicians an opportunity to explore data on country-level health indicators, health care costs and capacity, vital statistics, and contacts for family medicine opportunities abroad.
  • This project was born in early 2014, when an opportunity presented itself to combine a HealthLandscape data visualization tool with primary data collection from John Parks, M.D., a fellow with the Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care.
  • A user guide is available to help family physicians navigate the World Health Mapper tool, explaining how to display country-level health indicators as a map, table, bar chart or trend graph.

Background

The global mapping project was born in early 2014, when an opportunity presented itself to combine a HealthLandscape data visualization tool with primary data collection by Graham Center Fellow John Parks, M.D. The tool was built in 10 months without external funding.

Mark Carrozza and Jene Grandmont at HealthLandscape gathered and adapted the World Bank's World Development Indicators data catalog, as well as health data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and created an online visualization tool using HealthLandscape's existing platform.

Parks (currently working in Malawi) and a team of students gathered information on the status of family medicine in nearly every country in the world, Bazemore said. Alexander Ivanov, director of the AAFP Center for Global Health Initiatives, and Julie Wood, M.D., AAFP vice president of health of the public and science and interprofessional activities, supported the effort by disseminating the information and getting it integrated into the AAFP website.

Key Features

Bazemore recommended interested family physicians start using the tool by selecting the "Global Family Medicine Project" button to view information on where family medicine training is happening, which countries' ministries of health or education have recognized family medicine, and where related family medicine organizations are located.

"Click on other national characteristics to see how the presence or absence of family medicine is associated with national health care costs, disease rates and demographics," Bazemore added.

A user guide(2 MB PDF) is available to help family physicians navigate the World Health Mapper tool. The guide explains how to display country-level health indicators as a map, table, bar chart or trend graph.

Bazemore said the AAFP is increasingly active in supporting the growing global interests of family physicians and is pleased to offer a tool that allows members to explore and increase their knowledge and awareness of global health and the role of their discipline in its pursuit.

"For the globally minded and the simply curious, it will hopefully breed awareness of where family medicine training and activity are occurring, where partnerships might be possible, and where they might be most needed," he said.


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