Research Article: Enhancing healthcare accessibility measurements using GIS: A case study in Seoul, Korea

Date Published: February 20, 2018

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Yeeun Kim, Young-Ji Byon, Hwasoo Yeo, Tayyab Ikram Shah.


With recent aging demographic trends, the needs for enhancing geo-spatial analysis capabilities and monitoring the status of accessibilities of its citizens with healthcare services have increased. The accessibility to healthcare is determined not only by geographic distances to service locations, but also includes travel time, available modes of transportation, and departure time. Having access to the latest and accurate information regarding the healthcare accessibility allows the municipal government to plan for improvements, including expansion of healthcare infrastructure, effective labor distribution, alternative healthcare options for the regions with low accessibilities, and redesigning the public transportation routes and schedules. This paper proposes a new method named, Seoul Enhanced 2-Step Floating Catchment Area (SE2SFCA), which is customized for the city of Seoul, where population density is higher and the average distance between healthcare-service locations tends to be shorter than the typical North American or European cities. The proposed method of SE2SFCA is found to be realistic and effective in determining the weak accessibility regions. It resolves the over-estimation issues of the past, arising from the assignment of high healthcare accessibility for the regions with large hospitals and high density of population and hospitals.

Partial Text

Accessibility to medical services is one of the most critical measures in determining the quality of life [1]. From the perspective of social equity, everyone should have the opportunity to access such services equally. However, it is a challenge to achieve such equity with various obstacles such as economic and geographical issues.

This paper recognizes that current existing healthcare accessibility measurement methods are inadequate for the City of Seoul, Korea. Therefore, we developed a noble approach that considers various factors that are unique to Seoul City. The proposed SE2SFCA method is applied to private and public healthcare infrastructures in Seoul for determining districts and MBs with low healthcare accessibilities.




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