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Spatial variation in healthcare

Understanding spatial variation in healthcare delivery and outcomes

Director:                  Stephen Deppen, School of Medicine


Local differences in population, economics and built environment drive variation in healthcare delivery and outcomes, and are often found to vary geographically. Simply measuring individual risk factors or market forces are not sufficient to understand resulting population outcomes.  Defining and measuring the interaction of geographically varying disease and the local mosaic of causes is necessary to better tailor interventions and policy.

Differentiating lung cancer from benign histoplasmosis

Research Goal: Benign infections from mycotic fungi like histoplasmosis capsulatum, generate benign lung injuries that mimic lung cancer and defy our best imaging technologies’ ability to discriminate benign from malignant disease.  Spatial analysis can help differentiate cancer from infection, reducing the number of unnecessary lung surgeries.

Methods: These questions require spatial analytical knowledge to answer. The complexity of our proposed multivariable spatial models requires not only dedicated understanding of spatial data manipulation, but complex modeling and supercomputer programming skills. Such skills transcend those commonly found at the medical center or biostatistics.  Partnering with VIIGR and SARL enable us to further these questions and define and implement locally specific solutions to the problems arising from variation in healthcare delivery and outcomes.