Factors associated with the spatial accessibility of healthcare services measured by the floating catchment area (FCA)-based method: A scoping review

Med J Malaysia. 2023 Jan;78(1):109-117.


Introduction: The floating catchment area (FCA) method has emerged as the most comprehensive and accurate method for quantifying the spatial accessibility of health care services. There were variants of the FCA-based method that was continuously improvised by the researchers to suit specific local contexts and the different nature of healthcare service delivery. This scoping review identifies factors associated with the spatial accessibility of healthcare services that were specifically measured using the FCAbased method.

Materials and methods: This scoping review was performed through electronic databases (PubMed and ScienceDirect) using keywords: 'spatial accessibility', 'floating catchment area' and 'factors'. Google Scholar and Mendeley Network were also used as additional sources to obtain relevant studies.

Results: A total of 32 articles were included in this review. Factors identified can be distinguished into two broad categories, which are spatial and non-spatial factors. Spatial factors were remoteness or distance from the urban centre, areas in close proximity to main roads, and some specific geographical characteristics such as mountainous and deltaic regions, whereas non-spatial factors were the degree of urbanisation, population density and various demographic profiles of the population such as socioeconomic status, health need, and minority ethnic composition.

Conclusion: This study adds to the body of literature pertinent to the factors associated with spatial accessibility to healthcare services. These findings could give insight for researchers to consider and incorporate those additional variables to further improve the FCA-based method calculations.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Catchment Area, Health*
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Humans