Automated Delineation of Cancer Service Areas in the Northeast Region of U.S.

Authors: Fahui Wang*, Lousiana State University, Tracy Onega, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Spatial Analysis & Modeling, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: Hospital Service Areas, Hospital Referral Regions, Cancer Service Areas, Community Detection Method, Modularity, GIS
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Marshall South, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Health care delivery in the U.S. has been informed by methodologies that create “service areas” to evaluate how health care resources are distributed across the population and how that impacts health outcomes. Hospital Service Areas (HSAs) and Hospital Referral Regions (HRRs) of the Dartmouth Atlas Project are prominent examples of spatial units that are used to assess regional variation of health care utilization, expenditure and quality. Policy makers have used these units to design strategies for improving health and health care systems. Delivery of cancer care in the United States represents a unique set of patients, technologies, clinical specialization, and patient-centered perspectives, distinct from other patient populations. We propose to develop a novel method for generating utilization-based service areas - Cancer Service Areas (CSAs) – geospatial units analogous to HSAs, but specific to cancer care – in order to create a framework for assessing regional cancer care delivery, quality, and outcomes. Powered by Geographic Information Systems (GIS), the method is data-driven, automated, adaptable, and user-friendly for health professionals, and is illustrated in a case study in the Northeast Census Region of the U.S.

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