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Geospat Health. 2018 Nov 9;13(2). doi: 10.4081/gh.2018.703.

Comparing potential spatial access with self-reported travel times and cost analysis to haemodialysis facilities in North-eastern Iran.

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Vascular and Endovascular Surgery Research Center; Department of Medical Informatics, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad.


End-stage renal disease patients regularly need haemodialysis three times a week. Their poor access to haemodialysis facilities is significantly associated with a high mortality rate. The present cross-sectional study aimed to measure the potential spatial access to dialysis services at a small area level (census tract level) in North Khorasan Province, Iran. The patients were interviewed to obtain their travel information. The two-step floating catchment area (2SFCA) method was used to measure the spatial accessibility of patients to the dialysis centres. The capacity of the dialysis centre was defined as the number of active dialysis facilities in each centre and the haemodialysis patients in each area were considered as the users of dialysis services. The travel cost from each patient's residence to the haemodialysis facilities was visualized by the Kriging interpolation algorithm in the study area. Spatial accessibility to the dialysis centre was poor in the northern part of the study area. Fortunately, there were not many haemodialysis patients in that area. Patients' travel costs were high in the northern areas compared to the rest of study area. We observed a statistically significant reverse correlation between the self-reported travel time and computed spatial accessibility (-0.570, P value <0.01, two-tailed spearman test). This study supports the notion that the 2SFCA method could be associated with revealed access time to dialysis facilities, especially in low traffic and in flat areas such as northern Khorasan. The mapping of patients' distribution and interpolated travel cost to the haemodialysis facilities could help policymakers to allocate health resources to the areas where the need is greater.

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