Access to Providers

Measuring access to care

Dr. Thomas Concannon can determine the options available to patients requiring time-sensitive procedures. Using information on hospitals’ schedules and data on road networks and speed limits, Dr. Concannon can identify the hospitals available to a patient in a given census tract at any given time of day. His technique can be used to help hospitals measure the level of access to care patients in different locations are experiencing and to understand how this access evolves throughout the course of the day.

As Dr. Concannon’s method can be used by hospitals to understand geographic and temporal variation in access to care, it can play a vital role in helping hospitals decide whether to add or remove time-sensitive services. In underserved markets, this information may help hospitals apply for certificates of need, while in over-served markets, it may dissuade hospitals from creating additional or excess capacity. Furthermore, payers can use Dr. Concannon’s method to determine how their network design affects the access to in-network care that members experience in various locations and whether their networks offer adequate geographic coverage.

The techniques that Dr. Concannon has employed can be used to analyze access to care for many different services in numerous markets. To perform them, information was combined from the American Hospital Association Annual Survey Database and the Health Care Cost and Utilization Project’s (HCUP) State Inpatient Databases (SID). Although Dr. Concannon’s original research examined access to Percutaneous Coronary Intervention, the technique that he used could easily be extended to a multitude of other services whose presence is indicated in these two databases. Providers can benefit from having a better understanding of which geographic locations are underserved and over-served by particular services; such information allows providers to plan their capacity accordingly.

Dr. Concannon’s research on access to care in the context of Percutaneous Coronary Intervention was published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. Dr. Concannon additionally published an article in JAMA that analyzed access to burn care centers using similar techniques, demonstrating the diverse potential applications of his geospatial analysis. Dr. Concannon’s perspectives have also been featured in popular publications including The New York Times, U.S. News and World Report, and The Washington Post.