6 January 2016

Putting Location into Diabetes and Patient Care

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Recently published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ Open) by CRCSI researchers, Notre Dame University (Australia) Associate Dean Professor Moyez Jiwa and Curtin University's Dr Ori Gudes, Richard Varhol and Narelle Mullan, Impact of geography on the control of type 2 diabetes mellitus: a review of geocoded clinical data from general practice showcases the findings of the CRCSI Project Place as a vital sign of health.

The key finding of this study was that a significant proportion of people with a relatively high HbA1c (glycated haemoglobin) served by one general practice were clustered in and around two specific locations. These patients were managed similarly with reference to the guidelines. Likewise, attendance rate at the practice was equivalent to that of other patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus served by the practice.

The locations identified were, in one case, associated with socioeconomic deprivation, and in the other a high proportion of older residents. Patients in these locations were not prescribed more medications, but had a higher prevalence of some comorbidities.

The report concluded that older people with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and higher cardiovascular risk have been shown to be clustered in defined geographical locations. If such geographical patterns for chronic diseases such as diabetes are confirmed in other places, the data offers the prospect of more geographically targeted interventions to reduce health risks related to diabetes.

Overlaying spatial approaches (location) to analyse patient records and data is important to the application of patient health and spatial techniques and allows the targeting of scarce resources by adding a spatial lens.

A copy of the article as published by the BMJ Open can be downloaded here.

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