Feasibility and utility of population-level geospatial injury profiling: prospective, national cohort study

Jan O Jansen, Jonathan J Morrison, Handing Wang, Shan He, Robin Lawrenson, Marion K Campbell, David R Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)


BACKGROUND: Geospatial analysis is increasingly being used to evaluate the design and effectiveness of trauma systems, but there are no metrics to describe the geographic distribution of incidents. The aim of this study, therefore, was to evaluate the feasibility and utility of using spatial analysis to characterize, at scale, the geospatial profile of an injured population.

METHODS: This is a prospective national cohort study of all trauma patients attended to by the Scottish Ambulance Service in a complete year (between July 1, 2013, and June 30, 2014). Incident location and severity were collected at source. Incident distribution was evaluated using geostatistical techniques.

RESULTS: There were 80,391 recorded incidents involving traumatic injury. Incident density was highest in the central Southern part of the country and along the East coast, broadly following the population distribution and road network. The overall distribution was highly clustered, and centered on the central Southern and Eastern parts of the country. When analyzed by triage category, the distribution of incidents triaged to major trauma center care was slightly less clustered than that of incidents triaged to trauma unit or local emergency hospital care, but the spread was similar. When analyzed by type of injury, assaults and falls were more clustered than incidents relating to traffic and transportation.

CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates the feasibility and power of describing the geographic distribution of a group of injured patients. The methodology described has potential application for injury surveillance and trauma system design and evaluation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)962-969
Number of pages8
JournalThe journal of trauma and acute care surgery
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2015

Bibliographical note

The Health Services Research Unit receives funding from the Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government Health and Social Care Directorates. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors alone. The GEOS study was funded by the North of Scotland Planning Group.


  • geospatial modeling
  • trauma systems
  • health services research
  • trauma epidemiology
  • Scotland


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