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Measures of spatial accessibility to health care in a GIS environment: synthesis and a case study in the Chicago region


  • Wei Luo
  • Fahui Wang


This article synthesizes two GIS-based accessibility measures into one framework, and applies the methods to examining spatial accessibility to primary health care in the Chicago ten-county region. The floating catchment area (FCA) method defines the service area of physicians by a threshold travel time while accounting for the availability of physicians by their surrounded demands. The gravity-based method considers a nearby physician more accessible than a remote one and discounts a physician's availability by a gravity-based potential. The former is a special case of the latter. Based on the 2000 Census and primary care physician data, this research assesses the variation of spatial accessibility to primary care in the Chicago region, and analyzes the sensitivity of results by experimenting with ranges of threshold travel times in the FCA method and travel friction coefficients in the gravity model. The methods may be used to help the US Department of Health and Human Services and state health departments improve designation of Health Professional Shortage Areas.

Suggested Citation

  • Wei Luo & Fahui Wang, 2003. "Measures of spatial accessibility to health care in a GIS environment: synthesis and a case study in the Chicago region," Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 30(6), pages 865-884, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:pio:envirb:v:30:y:2003:i:6:p:865-884

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    4. Véronique Lucas-Gabrielli & Clément Nestrigue, 2016. "Analyse de sensibilité de l’Accessibilité potentielle localisée (APL)," Working Papers DT70, IRDES institut for research and information in health economics, revised Jan 2016.
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    9. Yamashita, Takashi & Kunkel, Suzanne R., 2010. "The association between heart disease mortality and geographic access to hospitals: County level comparisons in Ohio, USA," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 70(8), pages 1211-1218, April.
    10. Sedigheh LOTFI & Ayoub MANOUCHERI MIANDOAB, 2015. "Evaluating Urban Service Accessibility In The Medium Sized Cities Of Iran," Theoretical and Empirical Researches in Urban Management, Research Centre in Public Administration and Public Services, Bucharest, Romania, vol. 10(4), pages 77-95, November.
    11. Yu, Dongwei & Tan, Hongwei & Ruan, Yingjun, 2012. "An improved two-step floating catchment area method for supporting district building energy planning: A case study of Yongding County city, China," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 156-163.
    12. Gerson Javier Pérez Valbuena, 2013. "Barranquilla: avances recientes en sus indicadores socioeconómicos, y logros en la accesibilidad geográfica a la red pública hospitalaria," Documentos de trabajo sobre Economía Regional y Urbana 185, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
    13. Muhammed Ziya Paköz & Mehmet Ali Yüzer, 2014. "Determinants of Access to Healthcare: A Survey in Istanbul," ERSA conference papers ersa14p1390, European Regional Science Association.
    14. Miloslava Plachkinova & Au Vo & Rahul Bhaskar & Brian Hilton, 0. "A conceptual framework for quality healthcare accessibility: a scalable approach for big data technologies," Information Systems Frontiers, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-14.
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    18. Siegel, Martin & Koller, Daniela & Vogt, Verena & Sundmacher, Leonie, 2016. "Developing a composite index of spatial accessibility across different health care sectors: A German example," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 120(2), pages 205-212.
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    20. Gerson Javier Pérez V., 2013. "Accesibilidad geográfica y equidad en la prestación del servicio de salud: un estudio de caso para Barranquilla," BORRADORES DE ECONOMIA 010853, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA.
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    22. Wang, Lu & Rosenberg, Mark & Lo, Lucia, 2008. "Ethnicity and utilization of family physicians: A case study of Mainland Chinese immigrants in Toronto, Canada," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 67(9), pages 1410-1422, November.
    23. Jinjoo Bok & Youngsang Kwon, 2016. "Comparable Measures of Accessibility to Public Transport Using the General Transit Feed Specification," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(3), pages 1-13, March.
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    25. Pierre Polzin & Pierre Polzin & José Borges & António Coelho, 2016. "Applying an Extended Kernel Density 4-Step Floating Catchment Area method to identify priority districts to promote new publicly financed supply of gastroenterology exams," EcoMod2016 9584, EcoMod.

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