Contribution to Book
Managing Healthcare Information Systems with Web-Enabled Technologies
Geographical variations in cancer rates have been observed for decades. Described spatial patterns and trends have provided clues for generating hypotheses about the etiology of cancer. For breast cancer, investigators have demonstrated that some variation can be explained by differences in the population distribution of known breast cancer risk factors such as menstrual and reproductive variables (Laden, Spiegelman, and Neas, 1997; Robbins, Bescianini, and Kelsey, 1997; Sturgeon, Schairer, and Gail, 1995). However, regional patterns also may reflect the effects of Workshop on Hormones, Hormone Metabolism, Environment, and Breast Cancer (1995): (a) environmental hazards (such as air and water pollution), (b) demographics and the lifestyle of a mobile population, (c) subgroup susceptibility, (d) changes and advances in medical practice and healthcare management, and (e) other factors. To accurately measure breast cancer risk in individuals and population groups, it is necessary to singly and jointly assess the association between such risk and the hypothesized factors. Various statistical models will be needed to determine the potential relationships between breast cancer development and estimated exposures to environmental contamination. To apply the models, data must be assembled from a variety of sources, converted into the statistical models’ parameters, and delivered effectively to researchers and policy makers. A Web-enabled decision technology system can be developed to provide the needed functionality. This chapter will present a conceptual architecture for such a decision technology system. First, there will be a brief overview of a typical geographical analysis. Next, the chapter will present the conceptual Web-based decision technology system and illustrate how the system can assist users in diagnosing and treating breast cancer. The chapter will conclude with an examination of the potential benefits from system use and the implications for breast cancer research and practice.