Stakeholder experiences of using online spatial data visualisation tools for local public health decision support: A qualitative study.
Health & place 2021 ; 71: 102648.
PubMed ID : 34388582
The distribution of food outlets within towns and cities and the provision of active travel infrastructure have been associated with health behaviours that can contribute to obesity risk. Decision-makers describe a lack of local data and research evidence as a barrier to policy adoption to improve the public's health. Online spatial data visualisation tools created by researchers can help to bridge this gap. We explored stakeholder experiences of using such tools for decision-support, with a focus on facilitators and barriers to use. We conducted 16 qualitative interviews with Public Health, Planning and Transport Planning professionals, who had used two recently-developed tools. Participants described the importance of tools being open access; their use in "story-telling", particularly to non-experts; and more broadly their use even when imperfect. They expressed that 'robustness' of underpinning data was important, however this was not easily defined. Participants employed personal heuristics, principally based on endorsement and developer credibility, to determine suitability for use. We present key learning points for future developers to maximise engagement and impact.