Rural Birth Index (RBI)

The Development of a Predictive Model

Research Team

  • Principal Investigators:  Jude Kornelsen and Stefan Grzybowski
  • Support Team:  Shelagh Levangie, Andrew Birse, Lynn Tran

Project Summary

The goal of this research is the further develop and validate a preliminary index (The Rural Birth Index) designed to estimate/predict the appropriate level of maternity service for a given rural population based on population characteristics and isolation score.  Specific objectives include:

  1. To apply indicators to measure the congruence between the model and health system outcomes in BC;
  2. To explore negative case examples in BC to determine the cause of variance;
  3. To evaluate the utility of the model to health care planners in BC; and
  4. To apply the model to a validation sample.

The Rural Birth Index is a population-isolation-based score intended to estimate/predict the appropriate level of maternity service for a given rural population in BC, in the form of a composite birth index.  It was designed using an iterative, mathematical approach theoretically informed by complex adaptive systems theory and based on intensive research in 21 rural communities in BC.  Further development/refinement and validation of this model will strengthen rural maternity health service planning by providing a benchmark for appropriate levels of local services based on the objective and easily measurable/available characteristics of the population and physical environments.

Key Project Publication

Grzybowski, S., Kornelsen, J., & Schuurman, N. (2009). Planning the optimal level of local maternity service for small rural communities: A systems study in British Columbia. Health Policy, 92 (2-3), 149-157.

Other Project Update

The Rural Birth Index has been validated for use in rural British Columbia. Collaborators in Australia are adapting the model as a an Australian Rural Birth Index (ARBI).

Kildea, S., & Sratigos, S. (2010). Rural Birth Index for Australia? Australian Journal of Rural Health, 18 (2), 85-86.