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AMA Launches Interactive Tool Aimed at Helping Healthcare Providers Pinpoint Underserved Patient Care Areas

October 28, 2014
by John DeGaspari
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Geospatial mapping tool identifies workforce trends to assist providers in closing the gaps in patient access to care

The American Medical Association (AMA) today has introduced what it maintains is a first-of-its-kind resource aimed at helping physicians and other health care providers improve patient access to care.

The AMA says the Health Workforce Mapper is an interactive tool that illustrates the geographic locations of the health care work force in each state, including health professional shortage areas, hospital locations, as well as other related workforce trends. The tool is designed to highlight areas where the number of health care professionals could be expanded to enhance patient access to timely, quality care close to home. It says the tool can be used to demonstrate to law- or policy-makers the geographic distribution of the healthcare workforce in a given state or nationally, to assist them in making appropriate, evidence-based decisions.

The user can build a rich display of factors relevant to the health care workforce. Users can layer geographic and health policy data such as hospital locations or health professional shortage areas, population indicators, landmarks and other topographical features. The user can also display the ratio of physician or non-physician clinician to population in any given region or nationally. It can be used to distinguish possible areas of both deficiency and overlap, and to identify high-priority areas for workforce expansion.

“This unique new mapping tool gives physicians and other health care providers unprecedented information using reliable AMA data and other sources to see exactly where health care services are needed most,” according to AMA President Robert M. Wah, M.D., in a prepared statement.  “Providers can use this information to help them make the best decisions on where to locate or expand their practices to reach patients in greatest need of access to care.”

In addition, the AMA’s Health Workforce Mapper can help new physicians close the gap in patient access to care by giving residents and medical students access to important information that allows them to see, from state-to-state, where there are shortages in certain medical specialties.

AMA members can access the new tool in its entirety free of charge via the AMA website. Limited access is available for non-AMA members.





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