Geomedicine: area-based socioeconomic measures for assessing risk of hospital reutilization among children admitted for asthma

Am J Public Health. 2012 Dec;102(12):2308-14. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2012.300806. Epub 2012 Oct 18.


Objectives: We assessed whether geographic information available at the time of asthma admission predicts time to reutilization (readmission or emergency department revisit).

Methods: For a prospective cohort of children hospitalized with asthma in 2008 and 2009 in Cincinnati, Ohio, we constructed a geographic social risk index from geocoded home addresses linked to census tract extreme poverty and high school graduation rates and median home values. We examined geographic risk associations with reutilization and caregiver report of hardship.

Results: Thirty-nine percent of patients reutilized within 12 months. Compared with those in the lowest geographic risk stratum, those at medium and high risk had 1.3 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.9, 1.9) and 1.8 (95% CI = 1.4, 2.4) the risk of reutilization, respectively. Caregivers of children at highest geographic risk were 5 times as likely to report more than 2 financial hardships (P < .001) and 3 times as likely to report psychological distress (P = .001).

Conclusions: A geographic social risk index may help identify asthmatic children likely to return to the hospital. Targeting social risk assessments and interventions through geographic information may help to improve outcomes and reduce disparities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Asthenia / epidemiology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Hospitals, Pediatric / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Income / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Ohio / epidemiology
  • Patient Readmission / statistics & numerical data*
  • Poverty / statistics & numerical data
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors*