Chinese Geographical Science ›› 2021, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (1): 167-180.doi: 10.1007/s11769-021-1181-0

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Equity of Accessibility to Health Care Services and Identification of Underserved Areas

WANG Donghua1,2, CAO Xiaoshu2, HUANG Xiaoyan2   

  1. 1. School of Geography and Tourism, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi’an 710119, China;
    2. Northwest Land and Resource Research Center, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi’an 710119, China
  • Received:2020-01-15 Online:2021-01-20 Published:2021-01-05
  • Contact: CAO Xiaoshu;
  • Supported by:
    Under the auspices of National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41831284)

Abstract: Characterizing the availability of opportunities to residents has been a long-term aim in health care geographic investigation. It is important to measure the degree of inequity in health care accessibility and to identify underserved areas, due to the uneven distribution of health care services. In this study, JavaScript was used to calculate travel time based on Amap, as this can provide a more reliable data support to measure the health care accessibility in Xi’an communities, China. Based on the overall equity, herein, an attempt was made to quantify the equity of health care accessibility, and to identify health care underserved areas inside the different communities. Results show that the accessibility to low-level health care services is high in the northern areas and low in the southern areas, while the accessibility to high-level and comprehensive health care services shows a clear core-periphery spatial structure. Moreover, the overall equity of the health care accessibility is relatively low, and the inequity of high-level health care accessibility is further aggravated. Furthermore, the quantified equity of accessibility to high-level and comprehensive health care services in the central urban areas is better; however low-level health care services are relatively inadequate. There are significant differences among health care underserved areas, in particular, for the worst equity and the lowest accessibility areas (A1) and the worse equity and the lowest accessibility areas (B1) in high-level underserved areas. Notably, the sharing of health care services and the reasonable flow of health technical personnel among different levels of health institutions can make the high-level health care services in the central urban areas have a greater trickle effect on the surrounding areas.

Key words: accessibility, equity, identification, health care underserved areas, Xi’an, China