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Open Access Research

Modeling population access to New Zealand public hospitals

Lars Brabyn1* and Chris Skelly2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Geography, University of Waikato, New Zealand

2 Public Health Intelligence Group, Ministry of Health, Wellington, New Zealand

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International Journal of Health Geographics 2002, 1:3  doi:10.1186/1476-072X-1-3

Published: 12 November 2002

Abstract

This paper demonstrates a method for estimating the geographical accessibility of public hospitals. Cost path analysis was used to determine the minimum travel time and distance to the closest hospital via a road network. This analysis was applied to 38,000 census enumeration district centroids in New Zealand allowing geographical access to be linked to local populations. Average time and distance statistics have been calculated for local populations by modeling the total travel of a population if everybody visited a hospital once. These types of statistics can be generated for different population groups and enable comparisons to be made between regions. This study has shown that the northern and southern parts of New Zealand have high average travel times to hospital services.

Keywords:
hospital; access; network analysis; geographical information systems