Health statistics

0. Registration entry for subjects

0.1 Name

Health statistics

0.2 Subject area

Health and social affairs

0.3 Responsible authority; office, division, person etc.

Sigríður Vilhjálmsdóttir
Statistics Iceland
Tel.: +354-528-1054
Fax: +354-528-1100

0.4 Purpose and history

The purpose is to collect statistics on health and health related indicators and the activities of health institutions, store them and disseminate them nationally and internationally. Act No. 24/1913 on Statistics Iceland stipulates the main areas official statistics shall cover, one of which is health. Some items of the health statistics overlap with other subject areas, examples are population statistics (e.g. deaths and causes of death) and statistics on national accounts which cover statistics on health expenditure. The collection of health statistics has been extended in recent years due to increased international reporting.

0.5 Users and application

Users are national institutions and associations, international organizations, individuals and media. The information should be useful in policy planning and for individuals in their studies and work as well as for public debate.

0.6 Sources

Statistics Iceland produces population statistics some of which have reference to health (births, deaths, causes of death, life expectancy) and also statistics on health expenditure. Statistics on health are to a large extent collected and produced by other institutions whose role is to register or collect such data. These are e.g.:
  • Directorate of Health: statistics on health personnel, activities of health institutions, register on induced abortions, register on sterilizations, and statistics on communicable diseases;
  • Icelandic Cancer Registry: statistics on incidence of cancer;
  • The Ministry of Health and Social Security: statistics on the consumption and sales value of drugs;
  • The Public Health Institute of Iceland: surveys on tobacco use, nutrition, physical exercise etc.
The State Social Security Institute: Reported accidents to the SSI; consultations with specialists.

0.7 Legal basis for official statistics

Act No. 24/1913 on Statistics Iceland.

0.8 Response burden

Information is collected annually from official and specialized institutions which collect data on health. Some of the data is readily accessible and other needs further processing and adjustment. Besides regular collection of certain data a special data collection is sometimes needed for ad hoc requests.

0.9 EEA and EU obligations

1. Contents

1.1 Description of content

The statistics cover information on lifestyle, such as smoking habits, physical exercise and peoples weight, dental health and also number of and rates on induced abortions and sterilizations. It also covers incidence of diseases like HIV/AIDS and cancer. Also included are statistics on the resources and activities of the health system like health personnel by occupational groups and medical equipment, ambulant contacts both in primary care and with specialists, as well as discharges and average length of stay in hospitals. Furthermore there are statistics on the sales value and consumption of drugs.

1.2 Statistical concepts

Basic figures and sums are used. Figures showing proportions or rates per population total and/or by sex and age are sometimes used and published.
  • Annual incidence: refers to new cases (e.g. of cancer) diagnosed/reported during a year.
  • Discharge: refers to the period a patient (staying at least 24 hours in a hospital setting) is assigned to certain specialty. A discharge is demarked by the assignment of a patient to a specialty and the discharge from that specialty.
  • Average length of stay: refers to the number of bed-days (of 24 hours patients) divided by the number of discharges for a group of patients.
  • Drugs: DDD refers to defined daily dose per 1,000 population.
DMFT: is a standardized scale used for measuring dental health. It refers to the number of decayed, missing or filled teeth of a person.

2. Time

2.1 Reference periods

Most often it is the calendar year but sometimes figures refer to certain dates. If data arrives from surveys regular dates are less likely.

2.2 Process time

Varies, depends on requests and delivery dates. Dissemination of data to two international organizations takes place within the first part of the year and to the third later in the year. Process time for data for the Statistical Yearbook is late summer and autumn.

2.3 Punctuality

2.4 Frequency of releases

Annual figures published in The Statistical Yearbook and the Statistics Iceland website. Statistics are also published annually in NOMESCO´s Health Statistics in the Nordic Countries, OECD Health Data CD/web and Eurostats Key data on Health.

3. Reliability and security

3.1 Accuracy and reliability

Accuracy and reliability of data depends to some extent on how well it is processed by the suppliers of the data. Efforts are made to validate the data when possible and further information requested if necessary. Sometimes adjustments are needed if data does not correspond fully to the request. International classifications and standards are used when possible.

3.2 Sources of errors

3.3 Measures on confidence limits/accuracy

4. Comparison

4.1 Comparison between periods

In most cases comparison between years is possible. Exceptions are survey data. Generally figures should be comparable. If there is a change in definition data may need to be marked specially in the time series and notes supplied.

4.2 Comparison with other statistics

Statistics at national level are compared when possible. Comparisons are conducted with data at international level when data is submitted to international organizations like NOMESCO, OECD and Eurostat.

4.3 Coherence between preliminary and final statistics

Preliminary statistics are published rarely. When data has been confirmed it replaces the preliminary data in time-series. When major revisions or new definitions come into force e.g. when classifications are reviewed figures and time-series may be affected

5. Access to information

5.1 Forms of dissemination

News, released on Statistics Icelands website
Statistics, categorised statistical web tables
Statistical Series, Hagtíðindi
Statistical Yearbook of Iceland, Landshagir
Statistics Iceland disseminates statistics annually to NOMESCO for Health Statistics in the Nordic Countries (), OECD Health Data base, and Eurostat.

5.2 Basic data; storage and usability

Basic data is most often supplied and processed in Excel and word documents. Excel documents are generally also used for larger questionnaires and their replies. Statistics are available in the Statistical Yearbook and web based tables of Statistics Iceland.

5.3 Reports

Social and Health Statistics 19912000; Health Statistics in the Nordic Countries published annually by NOMESCO; Health at a Glance, published biannually by OECD; Eurostats Key Data on Health.

5.4 Other information

© Hagstofa �slands, �ann 17-10-2006