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J Okla State Med Assoc. 2018 Oct;111(8):784-789.

Access to Care for Children under five in Oklahoma: a Geographic Imputation Application.

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University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Department of Pediatrics, Oklahoma City, OK USA.
University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Department of Biostatics and Epidemiology, Oklahoma City, OK USA.
Center for Spatial Analysis, University of Oklahoma, Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability, Norman, OK USA.



Geographic access to primary care can be a barrier to receiving appropriate preventative services. Oklahoma has been identified as having relatively few primary care providers per capita to care for its population compared to the US. The goal of this analysis was to identify the areas in Oklahoma with significant concentrations of children under five, no pediatrician within reasonable driving distance, and whether other primary care providers are present.


The 2016 American Community Survey was used to estimate the total population of children under five years of age for each Census Block Group in Oklahoma. Access was defined as a thirty-minute drive time radius computed around each child's imputed location. The National Provider Identifier database was used to identify and locate pediatricians, family medicine physicians, and mid-level providers in Oklahoma. Areas of high concentrations of children with no pediatrician access were identified and non-pediatrician provider locations were superimposed.


Of the estimated 265,818 children under five in Oklahoma, approximately 7% were outside of a thirty-minute drive from a pediatrician. These children are concentrated in northwestern and southeastern Oklahoma, with several smaller additional groupings. There are multiple non-pediatrician primary care providers operating in many of these areas.


There are areas in the state where a paucity of pediatricians and high concentrations of young children lend themselves to collaborations using technology and education to improve the care of children.


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