Defining localities of inadequate treatment for childhood asthma: A GIS approach

Ronit Peled, Haim Reuveni, Joseph S. Pliskin, Itzhak Benenson, Erez Hatna, Asher Tal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) has great potential for the management of chronic disease and the analysis of clinical and administrative health care data. Asthma is a chronic disease associated with substantial morbidity, mortality, and health care use. Epidemiologic data from all over the world show an increasing prevalence of asthma morbidity and mortality despite the availability of effective treatment. These facts led to the emergence of strategies developed to improve the quality of asthma care. The objective: To develop an efficient tool for quality assurance and chronic disease management using a Geographic Information System (GIS). Geographic location: The southern region of Israel. January 1998 - Octo ber 2000. Databases: Administrative claims data of the largest HMO in Israel: drug dispensing registry, demographic data, Emergency Room visits, and hospitalization data bases. Methods: We created a list of six markers for inadequate pharmaceutical treatment of childhood asthma from the Israeli clinical guidelines. We used this list to search the drug dispensing registry to identify asthmatic children who received inadequate treatment and to assess their health care utilization and bad outcomes: emergency room visits and hospitalizations. Using GIS we created thematic maps on which we located the clinics with a high percentage of children for whom the treatment provided was not in adherence with the clinical guidelines. Results: 81 % of the children were found to have at least one marker for inadequate treatment; 17.5% were found to have more than one marker. Children with markers were found to have statistically significant higher rates of Emergency Room visits, hospitalizations and longer length of stay in hospital compared with children without markers. The maps show in a robust way which clinics provided treatment not in accord with the clinical guidelines. Those clinics have high rates of Emergency Room visits, hospitalizations and length of stay. Conclusion: Integration of clinical guidelines, administrative data and GIS can create an efficient interface between administrative and clinical information. This tool can be used for allocating sites for quality assurance interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3
JournalInternational Journal of Health Geographics
StatePublished - Jan 17 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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