Selecting a location for a primary healthcare facility: Combining a mathematical approach with a Geographic Information System to rank areas of relative need

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Abstract

Geographic Information Systems have become an invaluable tool in many industries as it can help to conceptualise available data and answer questions visually. The software allows for integration of key statistics and geographic data for a more detailed analysis. The objective of this study was to show how mathematically weighted, publicly available, relevant demographics data can be integrated with Geographic Information Systems to identify and rank potential locations for new primary healthcare facilities. Index of Relative Socio-economic Advantage and Disadvantage was mathematically weighted with respect to the usual resident population and the number of people not in the labour force data, at Statistical Area level 1 (SA1). Smoothing was applied by repeating the process at Statistical Area level 2, 3 and 4 to produce a quasi-index of priority. A total of 229 SA1 areas were identified and preselected as potential primary healthcare facility infrastructure sites across Australia. The quasi-index was incorporated into a Geographic Information System to produce a map identifying and ranking areas of relative need. Combining a mathematical approach with Geographic Information Systems can yield significant qualitative and quantitative advantages over conventional methods of site selection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-134
Number of pages5
JournalAustralian Journal of Primary Health
Volume24
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018

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