Does the edge effect impact on the measure of spatial accessibility to healthcare providers? - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles International Journal of Health Geographics Year : 2017

Does the edge effect impact on the measure of spatial accessibility to healthcare providers?

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Background Spatial accessibility indices are increasingly applied when investigating inequalities in health. Although most studies are making mentions of potential errors caused by the edge effect, many acknowledge having neglected to consider this concern by establishing spatial analyses within a finite region, settling for hypothesizing that accessibility to facilities will be under-reported. Our study seeks to assess the effect of edge on the accuracy of defining healthcare provider access by comparing healthcare provider accessibility accounting or not for the edge effect, in a real-world application. Methods This study was carried out in the department of Nord, France. The statistical unit we use is the French census block known as ‘IRIS’ (Ilot Regroupé pour l’Information Statistique), defined by the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies. The geographical accessibility indicator used is the “Index of Spatial Accessibility” (ISA), based on the E2SFCA algorithm. We calculated ISA for the pregnant women population by selecting three types of healthcare providers: general practitioners, gynecologists and midwives. We compared ISA variation when accounting or not edge effect in urban and rural zones. The GIS method was then employed to determine global and local autocorrelation. Lastly, we compared the relationship between socioeconomic distress index and ISA, when accounting or not for the edge effect, to fully evaluate its impact. Results The results revealed that on average ISA when offer and demand beyond the boundary were included is slightly below ISA when not accounting for the edge effect, and we found that the IRIS value was more likely to deteriorate than improve. Moreover, edge effect impact can vary widely by health provider type. There is greater variability within the rural IRIS group than within the urban IRIS group. We found a positive correlation between socioeconomic distress variables and composite ISA. Spatial analysis results (such as Moran’s spatial autocorrelation index and local indicators of spatial autocorrelation) are not really impacted. Conclusion Our research has revealed minor accessibility variation when edge effect has been considered in a French context. No general statement can be set up because intensity of impact varies according to healthcare provider type, territorial organization and methodology used to measure the accessibility to healthcare. Additional researches are required in order to distinguish what findings are specific to a territory and others common to different countries. It constitute a promising direction to determine more precisely healthcare shortage areas and then to fight against social health inequalities.
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Dates and versions

hal-01671318 , version 1 (08-06-2021)



Fei Gao, Wahida Kihal, Nolwenn Le Meur, Marc Souris, Séverine Deguen. Does the edge effect impact on the measure of spatial accessibility to healthcare providers?. International Journal of Health Geographics, 2017, 16 (1), pp.46. ⟨10.1186/s12942-017-0119-3⟩. ⟨hal-01671318⟩
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