An atlas of respiratory conditions in South Australia: Population patterns of prevalence, risk factors, service use and treatment

In 2004-05, Australia spent $3.3 billion directly on the management of respiratory conditions. In 2007- 08, general practitioners managed respiratory problems more than any other condition and in 2006 conditions of the respiratory system were the third most common underlying causes of death.

What are the aims of the atlas? The atlas aims:

· to describe aspects of the population with respiratory conditions and the social and economic conditions in which they live, using indicators that reflect key influences on developing and living with these conditions across the life span; and

· by mapping these indicators, to provide information in a form that will identify significant differences or ‘inequalities’ across the South Australian community, and support discussion and action to remediate them. The atlas provides a broad picture of health in South Australia. It combines socioeconomic and other risk factors associated with respiratory conditions with prevalence, treatment and service use data. It aims to assist communities, health practitioners, policy-makers and service planners, to better understand aspects of respiratory conditions at the community level. The circumstances of communities across the State vary in different ways. By looking at respiratory conditions and their determinants at a small area level, decision-makers are better able to tailor and direct specific services to those who need them most.

The atlas presents data for, and maps of, the following indicators:

· selected socioeconomic variables

· estimated levels of self-reported health status

· selected health risk factors

· estimated prevalence of respiratory conditions

· selected services provided under the Medical Benefits Schedule

· selected prescriptions dispensed under the Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme for respiratory conditions

· Emergency Department attendances

· admissions to public acute hospitals

· premature mortality

Where possible, these indicators are presented by relevant demographic characteristics, including sex, age, and Indigenous status.