The Office of Minority Health and Health Equity maintains spatially referenced (geocoded) databases of all licensed currently active physician practice sites regardless of medical specialty. The Office has expanded its Geographic Information Systems (GIS) capabilities and uses spatial analysis techniques, such as hotspot and cluster analysis, to circumscribe rational service areas.
The Division of Primary Care and Rural Health is currently working with various partners to spatially reference (geocode) women’s residential addresses and their address where they delivered a baby to calculate the distance and drive time for every birth in the Commonwealth. This will allow computations of drive times for all jurisdictions (both rural and urban), census tracts, payer groups, racial and ethnic categories, etc. Such data is vital for assessing the degree of access to obstetrical care, but also for the development of new models of care.
This analysis will allow the Office of Minority Health and Public Health Policy to tailor models of care for various medical specialty areas, taking into account the community’s demographic and health outcomes profile, as well as the need and potential demand for services.
The Office also uses GIS to identify “high priority target areas” and develop GIS techniques for studying rational service areas. This has facilitated the development of primary care Health Professional Shortage Areas in several rural areas.
For more information about Virginia designations, contact Social Epidemiology and Shortage Designations Manager, Kenneth Studer.