Measuring access to primary healthcare services after stroke: A spatial analytic approach
Finch, E., Liu, Y., Foster, M., Cruwys, T., Fleming, J., Worrall, L. et al.
Objective: To determine accessibility of the primary healthcare system for patients with stroke recently discharged from hospital.
Methods: This project mapped retrospective patient location data and the location of primary healthcare services in the same region. Patient location data were from all patients with stroke (N = 1595: January 2011–January 2017) discharged from one metropolitan hospital to the local Primary Health Network. Geographic Information System technology was used to map the patient discharge locations and the spatial distribution of primary healthcare services (general practitioner, pharmacy, allied health) across the region. Road network data were used to measure the level of access from each patient’s discharge location to the services.
Results: Access to primary healthcare services was variable. Areas with larger proportions of patients with stroke did not necessarily have good service access. With an increase in travel time, the number of services accessible to patients also increased. However, the spatial variation of access to services remained largely unchanged.
Conclusion: Access to primary healthcare services for patients with stroke varies spatially, with a trend towards relatively low levels of accessibility for many patients. There is an urgent need for future planning to consider geographical access to primary healthcare services for patients with stroke.