Understanding temporal changes of access to healthcare: an analytic framework for local factor impacts

Authors: Jue Yang*, , Liang Mao, Advisor
Topics: Medical and Health Geography
Keywords: Access to healthcare; Spatial disparities; Temporal changes; Factor impact analysis; GIS
Session Type: Paper


Population demands, health supplies, and the linkage between them (e.g., road networks) are important factors that determine spatial accessibility to healthcare at a location. These three factors vary differently by time and location, leading to temporal changes and spatial disparities in access to healthcare. Few analytic methods have been developed to measure the impacts of these factors on local health accessibility over time, which are essential to alleviating local health disparity and evaluating intervention programs. We proposed a spatially explicit analytic framework for measuring factor impacts by adopting a chain substitution method from economics. The analysis was illustrated by a case study of spatial accessibility to physicians in Florida, USA, during 1990-2010. The results mapped for every census block group the impacts of population growth, physician relocation, and road-network expansion on the loss/gain of health accessibility over time. The leading impact factor was identified in each census block group through comparison, and spatial clusters of factor impacts were discovered. To the literature in health accessibility, this article presents a promising start of factor impact analysis and offers new perspectives to understand spatial disparities in healthcare.

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