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Spatial accessibility to health care services: identifying under - serviced neighbourhoods in Canadian urban areas

Shah, Tayyab and Bell, Scott and Wilson, Kathi (2016) Spatial accessibility to health care services: identifying under - serviced neighbourhoods in Canadian urban areas. PLoS ONE, 11 (12). NA. ISSN 1932-6203

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    Abstract

    Background Urban environments can influence many aspects of health and well-being and access to health care is one of them. Access to primary health care (PHC) in urban settings is a pressing research and policy issue in Canada. Most research on access to healthcare is focused on national and provincial levels in Canada; there is a need to advance current understanding to local scales such as neighbourhoods. Methods This study examines spatial accessibility to family physicians using the Three-Step Floating Catchment Area (3SFCA) method to identify neighbourhoods with poor geographical access to PHC services and their spatial patterning across 14 Canadian urban settings. An index of spatial access to PHC services, representing an accessibility score (physicians-per-1000 population), was calculated for neighborhoods using a 3km road network distance. Information about primary health care providers (this definition does not include mobile services such as health buses or nurse practitioners or less distributed services such as emergency rooms) used in this research was gathered from publicly available and routinely updated sources (i.e. provincial colleges of physicians and surgeons). An integrated geocoding approach was used to establish PHC locations. Results The results found that the three methods, Simple Ratio, Neighbourhood Simple Ratio, and 3SFCA that produce City level access scores are positively correlated with each other. Comparative analyses were performed both within and across urban settings to examine disparities in distributions of PHC services. It is found that neighbourhoods with poor accessibility scores in the main urban settings across Canada have further disadvantages in relation to population high health care needs. Conclusions The results of this study show substantial variations in geographical accessibility to PHC services both within and among urban areas. This research enhances our understanding of spatial accessibility to health care services at the neighbourhood level. In particular, the results show that the low access neighbourhoods tend to be clustered in the neighbourhoods at the urban periphery and immediately surrounding the downtown area.

    Item Type: Journal Article
    Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
    G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
    H Social Sciences > HA Statistics
    R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
    Divisions: Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) > School of Geography, Earth Science and Environment
    Depositing User: Tayyab Shah
    Date Deposited: 02 Apr 2019 14:36
    Last Modified: 02 Apr 2019 14:36
    URI: http://repository.usp.ac.fj/id/eprint/11398
    UNSPECIFIED

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