Spatial accessibility to emergency care in Sichuan province in China
Timely access to emergency care can substantially improve overall population’s health outcomes. However, currently existed evidence focusing on access to emergency care in China remains insufficient. A better understanding of emergency care from the perspective of spatial accessibility is therefore essential to assist in future healthcare planning. This study provided a brief introduction to the emergency medical service system of China, and assessed the spatial accessibility of emergency care as well as its associated social-economic characteristics based on Sichuan province. Based on populational and hospital administrative data in 2018, we employed the nearest-neighbor method to measure the spatial accessibility while identifying its associated social-economic factors via conventional Ordinary Least Square (OLS) model. The shortest travel time analysis reported a relatively high level of overall spatial accessibility to emergency care in Sichuan. However, substantial geographical disparity in accessibility could nevertheless be observed throughout the province, with the eastern area presenting much higher accessibility than the western area. Regression results suggested that county-level discrepancies in accessibility could be significantly attributed to the variance in local economic development, urbanization level and administrative area. These findings indicated that long-term efforts need to be made by central government on optimizing the allocation of healthcare resources, as well as on fortifying financial support and providing preferential policies for economically disadvantaged regions.
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