The two-step floating catchment area (2SFCA) method, which is one of the most widely used methods for measuring healthcare spatial accessibility, defines the catchment area of each facility as the area within a certain distance from the facility. However, in some cases, the service utilization behavior is constrained by administrative boundaries, therefore the definition of catchment area within a certain distance may be inappropriate.
In this study, we aim to propose a modification of the 2SFCA method for measuring spatial accessibility to healthcare services in a system constrained by administrative boundaries. The proposed method defines the catchment areas of healthcare facilities within certain administrative units. The method is applied in a case study of the healthcare services in Yanqing District of Beijing, China. Three types of healthcare facilities, including general hospitals, community healthcare centers and stations, are included.
Based on the sensitivity analysis of the distance-decay parameter β, result of the β = 1 scenario is relatively appropriate and is utilized for further analysis. The difference between spatial accessibility with or without constraint of administrative boundary is relatively significant. The results of the proposed model show that the village-level spatial accessibility to healthcare services shows a significant disparity, and the uneven distribution of general hospitals is the main cause.
The constraint of administrative boundary has a significant impact on healthcare accessibility, which verifies the validity of the modification proposed by this study in empirical studies. The empirical results also lead to policy recommendations to improve healthcare equity in the study area. At the town-level, the improvement of equity in healthcare accessibility could be achieved in two ways. First, the sizes of community healthcare centers in towns with small accessibility scores should be expanded. Second, new general hospitals can be built in the eastern part of Yanqing District. Within each town, to improve the equity in healthcare accessibility, community healthcare stations should be expanded or newly built in the periphery villages.