Applying the Small-Area Estimation Method to Estimate a Population Eligible for Breast Cancer Detection Services
Published Date:Dec 15 2007
Source:Prev Chronic Dis. 2008; 5(1).
Health Care Surveys
Health Services Accessibility
Monte Carlo Method
Preventive Health Services
Statistics As Topic
Women's Health Services
Populations eligible for public health programs are often narrowly defined and, therefore, difficult to describe quantitatively, particularly at the local level, because of lack of data. This information, however, is vital for program planning and evaluation. We demonstrate the application of a statistical method using multiple sources of data to generate county estimates of women eligible for free breast cancer screening and diagnostic services through California's Cancer Detection Programs: Every Woman Counts.
We used the small-area estimation method to determine the proportion of eligible women by county and racial/ethnic group. To do so, we included individual and community data in a generalized, linear, mixed-effect model.
Our method yielded widely varied estimated proportions of service-eligible women at the county level. In all counties, the estimated proportion of eligible women was higher for Hispanics than for whites, blacks, Asian/Pacific Islanders, or American Indian/Alaska Natives. Across counties, the estimated proportions of eligible Hispanic women varied more than did those of women of other races.
The small-area estimation method is a powerful tool for approximating narrowly defined eligible or target populations that are not represented fully in any one data source. The variability and reliability of the estimates are measurable and meaningful. Public health programs can use this method to estimate the size of local populations eligible for, or in need of, preventive health services and interventions.
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