Using GIS-Based Cluster Control Systems to Create and Manage Health Care Service Areas
iHEA 2007 6th World Congress: Explorations in Health Economics Paper
Providing an efficient and efficacious allocation of health care services to a geographically distributed population is a formidable challenge for public health planners. Many factors come into play including location, number, and size of service territories. A logical solution is to use a Geographic Information System (GIS) to do cluster analysis based on demand and location, and then create service center locations based on the analysis. This paper describes and demonstrates applications of a cluster mapping tool developed by Research Triangle Institute (RTI International) that allows the user to create any number of geographic clusters based on a given service territory radius. While this is a useful product in itself, we found that significant staff time is required to manage the solution, once implemented. During the management phase, it is often desirable to reduce/increase the number of clusters, combine two or more clusters into a single service area, and/or relocate clusters in closer proximity to transportation hubs or nearer to qualified service providers. To this end, RTI created the Cluster Control System in Visual Basic which allows planners to interactively shift cases between service areas, assign staff to service areas, and close/open facilities as needed. This approach provides an efficient way to optimize the case/service area designation, while maintaining the flexibility to manually change the designations as local conditions dictate or change.
Keywords: GIS, optimization, allocation, case management
JEL Classification: R10, R34working papers series
Date posted: June 25, 2007
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