Importance of epidemiological data in healthcare

Epidemiology is a study that uses various types of analyses and disease based data for healthcare policymaking aimed towards improving public healthcare and services.

Epidemiology uses various descriptive and analytical models and statistics to explore the prevalence of disease and helps to explore relationships between factors. Descriptive and analytical models that include trend-based assessments of disease endemics, correlation statistics, and regression statistics. Time trends are another form of descriptive models that graphically presents the disease endemics. Graphical representations include line charts, bar charts, and pie charts. Spatial and temporal models, on the other hand, use geospatial analyses that show trend but are presented on a map.

Epidemiological data plays an important role in healthcare policymaking

Epidemiology has an important task in the management and control of emerging infectious diseases. Epidemiology uses various types of population data and statistical analyses to explore the trend of diseases either on a global scale or localized information. Entities such as the Government of India, healthcare institutions and pharmaceutical industries use various statistical methods of epidemiology to explore the prevalence of various infectious diseases and strategize methods to manage them. Malaria has been prevalent in India for more than fifty years. However, the state of malaria endemics has decreased with the effective implementation of healthcare initiatives, healthcare expenditures, public policies, and disease control measures. Epidemiological data of malaria helps the Government of India to implement effective public healthcare policies, which in turn help in effective implementation of healthcare policies and allocation of healthcare expenditures.

The Government of India played a major role in curbing malaria prevalence

Curbing malarial prevalence has been the priority of several state governments as well as the Central government. Every year, the government sets aside a fraction of India’s total GDP for healthcare. Malaria prevalence in India is gradually decreasing with effective interventions by the Government of India that includes healthcare initiatives and effective expenditures.

[graph class=”col-md-7″ type=”line” curve_type=”function” label=”Year, Malaria incidents (million), Health expenditure (% of GDP)” data=”‘2001’|2.09|4.26, ‘2002’|1.84|4.23, ‘2003’|1.87|4.00, ‘2004’|1.92|3.95, ‘2005’|1.82|3.79, ‘2006’|1.79|3.63, ‘2007’|1.51|3.51, ‘2008’|1.53|3.51, ‘2009’|1.56|3.48, ‘2010’|1.60|3.27, ‘2011’|1.31|3.24, ‘2012’|1.07|3.32, ‘2013’|0.88|3.74, ‘2014’|1.10|3.62, ‘2015’|1.17|3.59,’2016’|1.09|3.65″]

The trend of malaria prevalence and healthcare expenditure since the year 2001 shows that when the central government increases or maintains healthcare expenditure, the next year the incidents of malaria decrease. The budget in 2002 fell to 4.23% from 4.26% in the previous year. Consequently, incidents of malaria increased to 1.87 million in 2002 from 1.84 million in 2001. A similar trend can be observed for the remaining years, such as 2003 and 2009. Thus, malaria prevalence and healthcare expenditure share a positive and significant relationship.

Modelling malaria prevalence mainly uses forecasting models and meta-analysis models. Forecasting predicts disease endemics for future years using different models like ARIMA. Meta-analysis models use systematic review of population data to check the effect size of infection intervention strategy by different entities.