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J Am Board Fam Med. 2010 Jan-Feb;23(1):109-20. doi: 10.3122/jabfm.2010.01.090136.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) demonstrating primary care needs for a transitioning hispanic community.

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Department of Family Medicine, Carolinas Healthcare System, University of North Carolina, Charlotte, NC, USA.



Hispanics are the largest and fastest growing minority group in the United States. Charlotte, NC, had the 4th fastest growing Hispanic community in the nation between 1990 to 2000. Gaining understanding of the patterns of health care use for this changing population is a key step toward designing improved primary care access and community health.


The Multiple Attribute Primary Care Targeting Strategy process was applied to key patient- and community-level attributes describing the Charlotte Hispanic community. Maps were created based on socioeconomic status, population density, insurance status, and use of the emergency department as a primary care safety net. Each of these variables was weighed and added to create a single composite map.


Individual attribute maps and the composite map identified geographic locations where Hispanic community members would most benefit from increased access to primary care services.


Using the Multiple Attribute Primary Care Targeting Strategy process we were able to identify geographic areas within our community where many Hispanic immigrants face barriers to accessing appropriate primary care services. These areas can subsequently be targeted for interventions that improve access to primary care and reduce emergency department use. The geospatial model created through this process can be monitored over time to determine the effectiveness of these interventions.

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