Differential effects of distance decay on hospital inpatient visits among subpopulations in Florida, USA

Peng Jia, Fahui Wang, Imam M. Xierali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Understanding patients’ travel behavior for seeking hospital care is fundamental for understanding healthcare market and planning for resource allocation. However, few studies examined the issue comprehensively across populations by geographical, demographic, and health insurance characteristics. Based on the 2011 State Inpatient Database in Florida, this study modeled patients’ travel patterns for hospital inpatient care across geographic areas (by average affluence, urbanicity) and calendar seasons, and across subpopulations (by age, gender, race/ethnicity, and health insurance status). Overall, travel patterns for all subpopulations were best captured by the log-logistic function. Patients in more affluent areas and rural areas tended to travel longer for hospital inpatient care, so did the younger, whites, and privately insured. Longer travel distances may be a necessity for rural patients to cope with lack of accessibility for local hospital care, but for the other population groups, it may indicate rather better mobility and more healthcare choices. The results can be used in various healthcare analyses such as accessibility assessment, hospital service area delineation, and healthcare resource planning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number381
JournalEnvironmental Monitoring and Assessment
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019


  • Distance decay function
  • Florida
  • Hospital inpatient care
  • Hospital utilization
  • State Inpatient Database (SID)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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