Accessibility of health services in Finland: Producing information and analysis for policy-makers

Authors: Tiina Huotari*, University of Oulu, Geography Research Unit, Harri Antikainen, University of Oulu, Geography Research Unit, Ossi Kotavaara, University of Oulu, Geography Research Unit, Jarmo Rusanen, University of Oulu, Geography Research Unit
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: Accessibility, Geographic information system, Health care reform, Health services
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


A sparsely populated country with long distances, such as Finland, motivates to study accessibility of hospitals. At the time of ongoing health care reform, reorganization of services and behind the possible closures of service points in the future, there should be knowledge of effects on population accessibility to hospitals in large scale to maintain equality. The aim of the study is to find out if there is potential to organize health services more effectively without the restriction of administrative borders and find the areas where reduction of maternity hospitals would have minimum effect on accessibility. This study utilizes Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to assess the spatial accessibility of health service points. Grid-based population data and travel-time estimates are the main tools in this assessment. The regional differences in population structure around health centers gives us information of specific service needs in regional level, such as services for children and elderly. The results indicate that closure or reduction of any health care facility will have a direct impact on its clients, especially in the remote, sparsely populated areas.

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