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MedSat: A Public Health Dataset for England Featuring Medical Prescriptions and Satellite Imagery

Sanja Scepanovic · Ivica Obadic · Sagar Joglekar · Laura GIUSTARINI · Cristiano Nattero · Daniele Quercia · Xiaoxiang Zhu

Great Hall & Hall B1+B2 (level 1) #435


As extreme weather events become more frequent, understanding their impact on human health becomes increasingly crucial. However, the utilization of Earth Observation to effectively analyze the environmental context in relation to health remains limited. This limitation is primarily due to the lack of fine-grained spatial and temporal data in public and population health studies, hindering a comprehensive understanding of health outcomes. Additionally, obtaining appropriate environmental indices across different geographical levels and timeframes poses a challenge. For the years 2019 (pre-COVID) and 2020 (COVID), we collected spatio-temporal indicators for all Lower Layer Super Output Areas in England. These indicators included: i) 111 sociodemographic features linked to health in existing literature, ii) 43 environmental point features (e.g., greenery and air pollution levels), iii) 4 seasonal composite satellite images each with 11 bands, and iv) prescription prevalence associated with five medical conditions (depression, anxiety, diabetes, hypertension, and asthma), opioids and total prescriptions. We combined these indicators into a single MedSat dataset, the availability of which presents an opportunity for the machine learning community to develop new techniques specific to public health. These techniques would address challenges such as handling large and complex data volumes, performing effective feature engineering on environmental and sociodemographic factors, capturing spatial and temporal dependencies in the models, addressing imbalanced data distributions, developing novel computer vision methods for health modeling based on satellite imagery, ensuring model explainability, and achieving generalization beyond the specific geographical region.

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