Using Social Infrastructure Data for Type 2 Diabetes Management



Led by Dr John Furler, Department of General Practice, University of Melbourne.
Victorian Government Champion: Sandy Austin, Director, Health and Aged Care, Department of Health NWMR.
Research Champion: Professor Jane Gunn, Chair Primary Care Research, Head, General Practice and Primary Health Care Academic Centre, Melbourne Medical School, The University of Melbourne.


The aim of this project is to improve access to an integrated set of health-related (prevalence and service use) and social and physical infrastructure data to aid policy makers and planners.

Clustering of diabetes prevalence, other physical and psychological conditions and social disadvantage are important issues for those charged with planning and integrating health services, both primary care and hospital services. It means planners need to understand where particular areas of composite vulnerability and disease burden exist and how to match provision of integrated health and social care services to those areas of high composite need.

This demonstrator pilot project drew on a study of the care experiences of a number of people with diabetes from marginalised and disadvantaged backgrounds in the North and West Metropolitan Region (NWMR) of the Victorian Department of Health. The demonstrator project attempts to make possible the integration of health and social data to identify ‘hot-spots’ of combined or clustered vulnerability and visually represent service location and accessibility relevant to the complex health and welfare needs of people from these locations.

The mapping tool was developed with input from a research and system “champion”, technical experts and end users.


The code is licensed under creative commons.

The source code is available within the GitHub:

The open-source nature of the current data and the tool means that the tool can be replicated to anywhere in Melbourne and beyond (depending on the data). This tool uses the walkability procedure (distance through the street network outlined in Demonstrator Project 1 – Walkability.

This project has been supported by the University of Melbourne Centre for Spatial Data Infrastructure and Land Administration (CSDILA), the Victorian Government Office of the Valuer General, the Australian National Data Service (ANDS) and the Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network (AURIN) through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy Program and the Education Investment Fund (EIF) Super Science Initiative.

Using the tool

The Health tool can be found here

It is anticipated that the tool will be used by Primary Care Partnerships (PCPs) and Medicare Locals (MLs) have an important role to play in responding to issues such as access to health services and in the prevention of Type 2 Diabetes. It is anticipated that these groups will use the tool to assist with planning, implementing and measuring service system improvements, including evaluation of impacts and outcomes for consumers.

The tool has two main components as illustrated in Figure 1. The window on the left hand side relates to the disease distribution and enables the user to identify areas of particular vulnerability by searching SEIFA, Depression, Obesity and Depression related data. The window on the right shows the relationship between health service locations, fees structures.

[Click to Enlarge]

[Click to Enlarge]