1st Edition

GIS Automated Delineation of Hospital Service Areas

By Fahui Wang, Changzhen Wang Copyright 2022
    224 Pages 105 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    224 Pages 105 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    Hospital service areas (HSAs) and hospital referral regions (HRRs) are considered more appropriate units than geopolitical units for analyzing the performance of health care markets and policy implementation. GIS Automated Delineation of Hospital Service Areas represents the state-of-the-art approach in delineating HSAs and HRRs by using GIS-automated processes. It provides the best practices for defining such areas scientifically, in a geographically accurate manner, and without a steep learning curve.

    This book is intended to mainly serve professionals in geography, urban and regional planning, public health, and related fields. It is also useful for scholars in the above fields who have research interests related to GIS and spatial analysis applications in health care. It can be used as a supplemental text for upper-level undergraduate and graduate students in courses related to GIS and public health.


    • Introduces innovative state-of-the-art methods for delineation of HSAs (Dartmouth method, Huff model, network community detection methods)
    • Provides best practices and one-stop solution for related data processing tasks (e.g., distance and travel time estimation, identifying the best-fitting distance decay function)
    • Automates the methods in ArcGIS Pro toolkits
    • Includes free ready-to-download GIS tools and sample data available on authors’ website
    • Presents a methodology that is applicable to delineation of other service areas, catchment areas or functional regions for business analysis, planning, and public policy studies

    1. Why Hospital Service Areas?
    2. Estimating Distance and Travel Time Matrices in GIS
    3. Analysis of Spatial Behavior of Health Care Utilization in Distance Decay
    4. Delineating Hospital Service Areas by the Dartmouth Method
    5. Delineating Hospital Service Areas by the Huff Model
    6. Delineating Hospital Service Areas by Network Community Detection Methods

        7. Delineating Cancer Service Areas in the Northeast Region of the U.S.


    Fahui Wang, PhD, (ORCID #0000-0001-7765-3024) is Cyril & Tutta Vetter Alumni Professor in the Department of Geography and Anthropology, Louisiana State University. He earned a BS degree in geography from Peking University, China, an MA degree in economics and a PhD degree in city and regional planning from The Ohio State University. His research interests cover human geography (urban, economic, and transportation), public policy (crime and health) and planning. He has published 4 books, 2 edited volumes, and over 140 refereed articles (including co-authorship

    Changzhen Wang (ORCID #0000-0002-3065-1168) is PhD Candidate of Geography in the Department of Geography and Anthropology, Louisiana State University. She earned a BS degree from Southwest Jiaotong University and MEng degree from Wuhan University, both in GIS, in China. Her research focuses on development and applications of GIS, computational methods, network analysis and geo-visualization in public health, urban studies, and transportation.

    This is a highly useful book that provides a thorough and detailed treatment of geospatial concepts, models, and methods for accurately delineating hospital service areas. It highlights important methodological issues such the modifiable areal unit problem and many concepts (e.g., distance decay) that are essential for reliably capturing the relevant health care market segments and informing pertinent health policies. The book is comprehensive in its coverage of methods and applications (which include GIS-based methods for estimating travel time, deriving distance decay functions, and implementing the Huff model). Its clear presentation and the case studies will be helpful even to readers with a limited background in this area. This is an excellent book for researchers and practitioners in the health sector and social sciences interested in learning the conceptual basis and methods of accurately and effectively delineate hospital service areas.

    Mei-Po Kwan - Institute of Space and Earth Information Science, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong

    This important and innovative book presents state-of-the-art computationally intensive methods for harnessing big data to identify hospital service areas. With its detailed examples and code, practitioners and researchers can "hit the ground running" in identifying service areas for all kinds of healthcare, social service, and retail facilities over large geographic areas. The authors’ clear and in-depth discussion makes these complex, data-intensive methods accessible and do-able for a wide audience.

    Sara L McLafferty – Department of Geography & Geographic Information Science, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, USA

    Dr. Fahui Wang’s insightful methodological work provides an essential guide and toolkit for those seeking to understand the impact of geography on health and health care.  As a scientist who has spent most of my career at Dartmouth, home of the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care, which was first published nearly a quarter of a century ago by Dr. John E. Wennberg and colleagues, I fully appreciate the innovative approaches for automating delineation of hospital service areas using state-of-the-art geospatial methods that are made accessible in this publication. 

    Anna N. A. Tosteson - The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, USA