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Geographic Disparities in Mammography Capacity in the South: A Longitudinal Assessment of Supply and Demand

Keywords: Health services accessibility;geographic information systems;mammography;health services needs and demands;spatial analysis

Objective: Studies have shown that there is sufficient availability of mammography; however, little is known about geographic variation in capacity. The purpose of this study was to determine the locations and extent of over/undersupply of mammography in 14 southern states from 2002 to 2008.

Data Sources: Mammography facility data were collected from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Population estimates, used to estimate the potential demand for mammography, were obtained from GeoLytics Inc.

Study Design: Using the two-step floating catchment area method, we calculated spatial accessibility at the block group level and categorized the resulting index to represent the extent of under/oversupply relative to the potential demand.

Principal Findings: Results show decreasing availability of mammography over time. The extent of over/undersupply varied significantly across the South. Reductions in capacity occurred primarily in areas with an oversupply of machines, resulting in a 68 percent decrease in the percent of women living in excess capacity areas from 2002 to 2008. The percent of women living in poor capacity areas rose by 10 percent from 2002 to 2008.

Conclusions: Our study found decreasing mammography availability and capacity over time, with substantial variation across states. This information can assist providers and policy makers in their business planning and resource allocation decisions.

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