Using geographical information systems mapping to identify areas presenting high risk for traumatic brain injury
BACKGROUND:The aim of this study is to show how geographical information systems (GIS) can be used to track and compare hospitalization rates for traumatic brain injury (TBI) over time and across a large geographical area using population based data.RESULTS & DISCUSSION:Data on TBI hospitalizations, and geographic and demographic variables, came from the Ontario Trauma Registry Minimum Data Set for the fiscal years 1993-1994 and 2001-2002. Various visualization techniques, exploratory data analysis and spatial analysis were employed to map and analyze these data. Both the raw and standardized rates by age/gender of the geographical unit were studied. Data analyses revealed persistent high rates of hospitalization for TBI resulting from any injury mechanism between two time periods in specific geographic locations.CONCLUSIONS:This study shows how geographic information systems can be successfully used to investigate hospitalizaton rates for traumatic brain injury using a range of tools and techniques; findings can be used for local planning of both injury prevention and post discharge services, including rehabilitation.