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International Journal of Health Geographics

, 10:3

First Online: 10 January 2011Received: 16 September 2010Accepted: 10 January 2011DOI: 10.1186-1476-072X-10-3

Cite this article as: Waldhoer, T. & Heinzl, H. Int J Health Geogr 2011 10: 3. doi:10.1186-1476-072X-10-3


BackgroundRegionally partitioned health indicator values are commonly presented in choropleth maps. Policymakers and health authorities use them among others for health reporting, demand planning and quality assessment. Quite often there are concerns whether the health situation in certain areas can be considered different or equivalent to a reference value.

ResultsHighlighting statistically significant areas enables the statement that these areas differ from the reference value. However, this approach does not allow conclusions which areas are sufficiently close to the reference value, although these are crucial for health policy making as well. In order to overcome this weakness a combined integration of statistical difference and equivalence tests into choropleth maps is suggested and the approach is exemplified with health data of Austrian newborns.

ConclusionsThe suggested method will improve the interpretability of choropleth maps for policymakers and health authorities.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1476-072X-10-3 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Thomas Waldhoer - Harald Heinzl


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