New generation of rapid surveys from the 45 and Up Study

The 45 and Up Study has developed a rapid and agile way to collect data, using Australia’s largest ongoing study into health and ageing. 

45 and Up Health Compass is a new program of shorter, topic-focused online surveys that are sent to 21,000 participants in the 45 and Up Study. Recruitment for participants took place in 2022, with three surveys completed in the past 12 months and more planned for 2024. Surveys are developed in partnership with government departments, research organisations and advisory bodies.

If you have a question you need answered quickly, talk to us about how Health Compass can help you get the information you require.

“We’ve established an effective, time-saving method of rapid data collection, which can now be used by researchers and decision makers to address gaps in knowledge and answer urgent research questions.” says Matthew Goringe, Senior Director of Data and Research Services.

Rapid data collection is key to 45 and Up Health Compass surveys, which take only 15 minutes to complete and are submitted online to allow for fast data cleaning and collation. This means that survey results can be available 4-6 weeks after the close of each survey.

Survey data can be to linked other survey data from the 45 and Up Study and a range of administrative datasets for health research.

The other key attribute of 45 and Up Health Compass is the highly engaged cohort of older Australians. So far, there has been an impressive response rate of 90% to surveys.  

More than 1 in 10 participants are from the most disadvantaged socio-economic group, while 8% live in outer regional, remote and very remote areas. 14% of participants identify as carers, while 3% live in aged care facilities or a retirement villages. Almost half of all participants have more than two chronic conditions.

Health themes covered by the surveys so far are wide-ranging, including questions on influenza vaccination, mental wellbeing, eye health, head injuries, end-of-life planning and care, and experiences of bereavement.

The results of 45 and Up Health Compass surveys have already proved insightful and influential. The Health and Social Policy branch of the NSW Ministry of Health used 45 and Up Health Compass to examine end-of-life planning, experiences of end-of life care and caring for someone at the end-of-life. The findings have been used to drive projects on patient and carer experience.

45 and Up Health Compass emerged from the series of rapid surveys rolled out by the 45 and Up Study during the pandemic called COVID Insights. Those surveys were focused on COVID-19 and people’s related experiences and attitudes.

The experience of setting up COVID Insights meant that 45 and Up Health Compass was established quickly and effectively.

“The 45 and Up Study team are now highly experienced with the rapid survey model. We’ve learnt the best processes for designing surveys, eliciting rapid survey responses and cleaning data quickly.” Matt says.  

To find out more about using 45 and Up Health Compass’s time-saving method for rapid data collection, get in touch at 45andUp.research@saxinstitute.org.au