Evaluating the Accessibility of Healthcare Facilities Using an Integrated Catchment Area Approach

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018 Sep 19;15(9):2051. doi: 10.3390/ijerph15092051.


Accessibility is a major method for evaluating the distribution of service facilities and identifying areas in shortage of service. Traditional accessibility methods, however, are largely model-based and do not consider the actual utilization of services, which may lead to results that are different from those obtained when people's actual behaviors are taken into account. Based on taxi GPS trajectory data, this paper proposed a novel integrated catchment area (ICA) that integrates actual human travel behavior to evaluate the accessibility to healthcare facilities in Shenzhen, China, using the enhanced two-step floating catchment area (E2SFCA) method. This method is called the E2SFCA-ICA method. First, access probability is proposed to depict the probability of visiting a healthcare facility. Then, integrated access probability (IAP), which integrates model-based access probability (MAP) and data-based access probability (DAP), is presented. Under the constraint of IAP, ICA is generated and divided into distinct subzones. Finally, the ICA and subzones are incorporated into the E2SFCA method to evaluate the accessibility of the top-tier hospitals in Shenzhen, China. The results show that the ICA not only reduces the differences between model-based catchment areas and data-based catchment areas, but also distinguishes the core catchment area, stable catchment area, uncertain catchment area and remote catchment area of healthcare facilities. The study also found that the accessibility of Shenzhen's top-tier hospitals obtained with traditional catchment areas tends to be overestimated and more unequally distributed in space when compared to the accessibility obtained with integrated catchment areas.

Keywords: E2SFCA; access probability; catchment areas; healthcare accessibility; taxi GPS trajectories.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Catchment Area, Health*
  • China
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Travel / statistics & numerical data