October 28, 2020

Transportation barriers to care may increase likelihood of emergency surgical intervention

CHICAGO: Transportation barriers, such as personal access to a vehicle or public transportation, disproportionally affect minority communities, according to results of a new study presented at the virtual American College of Surgeons (ACS) Clinical Congress 2020.

The study was performed by researchers at the University of Colorado at Aurora who used geographic information systems (GIS) to better understand traffic paths to hospitals offering elective and emergency surgical care throughout Denver. They tracked public transportation routes across census tracts and found areas with higher minority populations have nearly double the travel time burden to health care facilities when using public transportation.

Facilities with acute surgical capacity (emergency department, intensive care unit, and acute care surgery services) were identified within a 20-mile radius of the city center. Travel times were then estimated from the center of each census tract to the nearest facility by the shortest route. Using this method, the researchers

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