Geographic and Sociodemographic Disparities in Drive Times to Joint Commission–Certified Primary Stroke Centers in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia
Published Date:Jun 15 2011
Source:Prev Chronic Dis. 2011; 8(4).
Timely access to facilities that provide acute stroke care is necessary to reduce disabilities and death from stroke. We examined geographic and sociodemographic disparities in drive times to Joint Commission–certified primary stroke centers (JCPSCs) and other hospitals with stroke care quality improvement initiatives in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.
We defined boundaries for 30- and 60-minute drive-time areas to JCPSCs and other hospitals by using geographic information systems (GIS) mapping technology and calculated the proportions of the population living in these drive-time areas by sociodemographic characteristics. Age-adjusted county-level stroke death rates were overlaid onto the drive-time areas.
Approximately 55% of the population lived within a 30-minute drive time to a JCPSC; 77% lived within a 60-minute drive time. Disparities in percentage of the population within 30-minute drive times were found by race/ethnicity, education, income, and urban/rural status; the disparity was largest between urban areas (70% lived within 30-minute drive time) and rural areas (26%). The rural coastal plains had the largest concentration of counties with high stroke death rates and the fewest JCPSCs.
Many areas in this tri-state region lack timely access to JCPSCs. Alternative strategies are needed to expand provision of quality acute stroke care in this region. GIS modeling is valuable for examining and strategically planning the distribution of hospitals providing acute stroke care.
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