An integrated approach to measuring potential spatial access to health care services

Socioecon Plann Sci. 1992 Oct;26(4):275-87. doi: 10.1016/0038-0121(92)90004-o.


In recent years there have been several attempts to develop quantitative measures of potential spatial access to health care services which, despite their limitations, offer many positive ideas that can perhaps be integrated into a logically consistent and generally acceptable index. It is in this vein that the current paper presents an integrated approach, drawing partially from past contributions, to measuring potential spatial access to health care services. The final access index is derived as the culmination of a series of individual measures, starting with an initial gravity formulation and progressing through successive stages as new elements, consistent with the definition and conceptualization of potential spatial access, are introduced. Application of the proposed index to the ambulatory medical care system of the Akron, Ohio SMSA, demonstrates the validity of the measure, and its suitability as a potential health care planning tool.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Ambulatory Care / organization & administration*
  • Ambulatory Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Catchment Area, Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Geography
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services Research / methods*
  • Hospitals / supply & distribution
  • Models, Statistical
  • Ohio
  • Physicians / supply & distribution
  • Regional Health Planning
  • Small-Area Analysis*
  • Time and Motion Studies
  • Travel
  • Urban Health / statistics & numerical data