Leveraging GIS to Explore the Healthcare Workforce

Authors: Dave Grolling*, American Academy of Family Physicians, Jennifer Rankin, American Academy of Family Physicians, Jené Grandmont, American Academy of Family Physicians
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, United States, Cartography
Keywords: Cartography, Python, Map Automation, Primary Care Workforce
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Truman, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Studying the health workforce distribution in the United States can be leveraged with geospatial information systems (GIS) applications and methodologies. The data that drive these tools such as the American Medical Association (AMA) Masterfile and the National Plan and Provider Enumeration System data, include addresses on all licensed healthcare providers, as well as taxonomy codes to determine which specialties these providers are practicing under. We will present two junctures of GIS technology that bridge the gap between workforce data and the mediums that are used to help those make informed decisions about primary care, workforce allocation, healthcare shortages, and health policy decisions. The Health Workforce Mapper explores the gaps between the geographic location of primary care providers and the health care needs of the population. The tool allows users to map primary care physician and non-physician practice locations in the United States, along with other health care facilities including hospitals, community health centers, and Rural Health Clinics, as well as Health Professional Shortage Area and Medically Underserved Area/Population designations. Secondly, we aim to present the methodologies used to produce 1,560 paper maps showing 30 unique healthcare specialty types for each state using Python scripting language in a GIS, to automate the production of the deliverable package to a client. Showing the locations of healthcare providers in a dynamic web-based application or on static maps will assist in making decisions to improve health outcomes, bolster workforce shortages, and to explain where there are pitfalls in healthcare accessibility.

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