263704 Using Geographic Information Systems to Evaluate the Use of Estimated Drive Times as Rational Service Areas for Primary Care

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 11:30 AM - 11:50 AM

Sean Finnegan, MS , Robert Graham Center, American Academy of Family Physicians, Washington, DC
Nigel Waters, PhD , Geography and GeoInfromation Science, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
Kevin Curtin, PhD , Geography and GeoInformation Science, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
Timothy Leslie, PhD , Geography and GeoInformation Science, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
Background: Health care service areas have been utilized to assess use of health care services and evaluate population health indicators. Primary Care Service Areas (PCSAs) are examples of health care service areas, made up of contiguous ZIP Code Tabulation Areas and based almost entirely on Medicare usage. PCSAs have been proposed as rational service areas to assess health indicators and socioeconomic variables in order to evaluate primary care shortages and make federal and state policy and funding decisions. We propose that in rural areas, service areas based on average drive times to primary care providers are more rational for the populations in terms of geographic accessibility and for assessing health outcomes. Data and Methods: Utilizing geographic information systems, 30-minute estimated drive time service areas were calculated based on road networks around primary care providers selected from the 2011 American Medical Association's Physician's Masterfile and compared to 33 rural PCSAs in Missouri. Population and demographic coverage were derived from the 2010 Decennial Census at the block level. The comparisons were made based on the difference in area and population covered by both methods. Results: Some PCSAs fell completely within a 30-minute travel time, while other PCSAs include both large areas and populations outside of the travel time service area possibly causing insufficient geographic access to primary care services. Conclusions: Service areas based on predefined geographies are sometimes sufficient for assessing access to primary care, but often include populations that may not have sufficient geographic access to the primary care services.

Learning Areas:
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
At the completion of the presentation the attendees will be able to identify the utilization of estimated drive time service areas as rational service areas for primary care.

Keywords: Access, Geographic Information Systems

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a masterís trained geographer and have worked on health geography related issues for many years. This work highlights the work of my masterís thesis. Additionally, I am a co-principal author for a federally funded grant looking at access to primary care issues.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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