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Health Systems Institute
Georgia Institute of Technology
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Seed Grant Profile


2011-2012 Program

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Measurement and Inference in the Equity of Specialized Pediatric Healthcare

Inequities in healthcare are associated with higher costs, inconsistency in health treatments, outcomes and quality, and most importantly, disparities in health. Quantifying and measuring inequities in access to and quality of pediatric healthcare and identifying the factors that relate to inequities will allow us to advise policymakers on steps that may be taken to reduce disparities, such as where to focus limited resources in the network, towards what groups, and the relative impact of access and quality versus other factors in determining the ultimate level of inequity. The first proposed research task is to quantify the access to healthcare for pediatric patients, including access to specialized care. One significant contribution we make in the proposed accessibility measurement is to account for constraints in the system while measuring access in terms of the travel distance, congestion and coverage. The second research task is to develop measures of healthcare quality for high-impact pediatric conditions and to investigate variations in healthcare quality indicators with respect to geographical location as well as socio-economic factors. The third research task is to sort communities based on their access to and quality of helthcare as: success, disparity, and failure. In identifying geographical areas that are performing well we will be able to further identify systems that achieved equity and positive outcomes beyond what would be expected of that area based on other factors, and this will point to further study that can be done to understand the measures that can be taken to overcome inequities with respect to other factors. By focusing the proposed research around a specific disease like obesity, we will also help to prioritize the interventions that will be most effective in reducing disparities with respect to that specific condition.

Investigators: Nicoleta Serban (Georgia Institute of Technology), Julie Swann (Georgia Institute of Technology) and Stephanie Walsh (Children's Healthcare of Atlanta)

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