Introduction: Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) prevalence and mortality in Appalachian counties is substantially higher when compared to non-Appalachian counties, although there is significant variation within Appalachia.
Purpose: The objectives of this research were to identify low-performing (priority) and high-performing (bright spot) counties with respect to improving T2DM preventive care.
Methods: Using data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care, and the Appalachia Regional Commission, conditional maps were created using county-level estimates for T2DM prevalence, mortality, and annual hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) testing rates. Priority counties were identified using the following criteria: top 33rd percentile for T2DM mortality; top 33rd percentile for T2DM prevalence; bottom 50th percentile for A1c testing rates. Bright spot counties were identified as counties in the bottom 33rd percentile for T2DM mortality, the top 33rd percentile for T2DM prevalence; and the top 50th percentile for HbA1c testing rates.
Results: Forty-one priority counties were identified (those with high T2DM mortality, high T2DM prevalence, and low HbA1c testing rates), which were located primarily in Central and North Central Appalachia; and 17 bright spot counties were identified (high T2DM prevalence, low T2DM mortality, and high HbA1c testing rates), which were scattered throughout Appalachia. Eight of the 17 bright spot counties were adjacent to priority counties.
Implications: By employing conditional mapping to T2DM, multiple variables can be summarized into a single, easily interpretable map. This could be valuable for T2DM-prevention programs seeking to prioritize diagnostic and intervention resources for the management of T2DM in Appalachia.
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Mallow PJ, Topmiller M, Rankin J, et al. Identifying priority and “bright-spot” counties for diabetes preventive care in Appalachia: an exploratory analysis. J Appalach Health 2019;1(1):27–33.
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